A ‘forgotten’ tender, for the provision of fenders and other essential equipment to render the new €1.6 million quay in Cirkewwa useable, has finally been published following a story by The Shift last week revealing the incompetence and waste of public funds around the project that was left abandoned for months.
After this website’s report that the quay, known as ‘Cirkewwa 1’, is still not functioning two months after it was inaugurated because it was left incomplete and unusable, Gozo Channel Operations yesterday published an official call for the supply and installation of the necessary infrastructure.
Through the public electronic tendering system, Gozo Channel Operations, which operates the traditional Gozo ferry service, issued a call for the “Design, fabrication, supply, installation and commissioning,” of eight marine fenders and a ramp plate, in order to be able to start using the new quay.
In June, transport minister Ian Borg – whose motto is ‘getting things done’ – and Gozo minister Clint Camilleri announced that the new facilities would be available for use by Gozo Channel through this summer.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened, and won’t happen soon, because they forgot to issue the essential tender for the completion of the project.
According to the new tender specifications, if all goes as planned, the fenders will only be in place in five months’ time, meaning that the €1.6 million ‘investment’ would have been left idle for more than half a year.
“It had to be The Shift’s report to remind the two respective ministries and Infrastructure Malta that the quay was far from ready,” a senior Gozo Channel source told The Shift yesterday.
“It is simply unbelievable that such crucial infrastructure, which basically makes such facilities usable, will only be installed some eight months after an official inauguration ceremony, boosted on the media like some kind of political achievement.”
“I hope they won’t have the guts to organise another inauguration ceremony, although it wouldn’t surprise me,” the official commented sarcastically.
The Shift is informed that the tender document for the completion of the Cirkewwa 1 project have been ready since March 2019.
“No one knows why Infrastructure Malta CEO, Fredrick Azzopardi, has left this important document on his desk and never bothered to pass it on for implementation until The Shift’s revelations,” the sources added.
According to the new tender, the rest of the infrastructure necessary to complete the quay project, which apart from the fenders also include a ramp plate, will cost taxpayers a further €600,000 at least.
Although the quay, replacing an earlier, long-used structure, was reconstructed by Infrastructure Malta, the completion phase was passed on to Gozo Channel to manage.
The Shift is informed that this handover was made because the road agency had not catered for the necessary budget to complete and equip it.
Infrastructure Malta – the brainchild of minister Ian Borg – has been entrusted with a budget of €100 million a year for road and other public infrastructure projects.
Borg handpicked Fredrick Azzopardi – a former Labour councillor in his Mdina constituency – to run the agency.
Azzopardi served as Enemalta executive chairman, and a close associate of disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi, during the period when the controversial gas power plant procurement and Montenegro projects were carried out.