Matthew Bongailas, 32, from Fgura, who describes himself on social media as “a proud member of Prime Minister Robert Abela’s team” in the Labour Party’s leadership contest last year, received 15 direct orders worth almost €2 million by Infrastructure Malta in the last few months.
Data presented in parliament in response to a parliamentary question by PN MP David Thake shows that Bongailas, the sole owner of Bongailas Construction, was repeatedly chosen by the government agency to carry out various road works around the island.
The value of direct orders ranged from small jobs with a value of under €100,000 each to a €416,000 direct order for works in Burmarrad.
Bongailas was as also a counting agent for the prime minister during the Labour leadership race and is close to various Labour Ministers, particularly the Minister responsible for roads, Ian Borg.
His new company, Bongailas Construction, was only registered last year. Yet the prime minister’s canvasser started receiving direct orders in 2019, through Matthew Bongailas Turnkey Services.
An analysis conducted by The Shift also shows that during the last two years Infrastructure Malta dished out more than €26 million in over 121 direct orders.
Bongailas is among a number of companies, including some set up since Infrastructure Malta took over the responsibility of all road and maritime infrastructure works on the islands, given repeated direct orders worth millions paid by taxpayers.
Galletta Construction, a small construction firm registered in 2018, topped the list of Infrastructure Malta’s direct orders, receiving 17 different jobs – almost one a month – with a total value of €2.5 million. The company is owned by Adrian Muscat, 38, from Zebbug. Most of the works awarded to Galletta were on roads in Rabat, Minister Ian Borg’s constituency.
Brick Concepts Ltd, a company registered in 2017 and owned by Alfred Attard and Mandy Fenech from Rabat, was given €1 million in direct orders in the last two years. The company’s accounts are audited by Reanda – an audit firm owned by Robert Borg – the financial controller of the General Workers Union.
Despite the blacklisting of Charles Polidano, known as Ic-Caqnu, due to his owing more than €40 million in unpaid taxes, he was awarded two direct orders from Infrastructure Malta, one of them worth more than €0.5 million for works on the Deep Water Quay in Valletta.
Bonnici Brothers received €2.7 million in direct orders in the last two years.
Elbros Construction was the largest recipient of direct orders from Infrastructure Malta, with one reaching a staggering €1.6 million for works on a berth in Cirkewwa.
Ballut Blocks also received two massive direct orders with a total value of €2.7 million.
The National Audit Office has repeatedly warned that direct orders should be used only in emergency cases and as “a last resort”. According to the NAO, most of these direct orders are being issued irregularly and against public procurement regulations.