Wilson Mifsud, the cousin of Labour Party Secretary William Lewis, has been awarded six contracts, three direct orders and a tender cumulatively worth €722,994 since the Labour party was elected to power in 2013, according to Government Gazette records.
The two biggest contracts awarded to Mifsud’s company, WM Environmental, include providing cleaning services to Karin Grech Hospital for 11 months in 2015 and waste collection services at Saint Vincent de Paule in 2017. These two contracts alone were worth €323,309 and €225,301, respectively.
The lucrative contracts were awarded to Mifsud’s company largely for services related to the provision of cleaning services. Mifsud is also a shareholder in another company called Specialist Group Cleaners, a company which he owns jointly with members of the Camilleri family, known also as the main shareholders of Construct Furniture, Labour’s favourite furniture company.
The Environment Ministry awarded at least three direct orders to WM Environmental Ltd. Other government entities that awarded Mifsud contracts include the Transport Ministry, Malta Enterprise, Naxxar local council and the health authorities’ central procurement unit.
Mifsud is closely linked to the Labour Party through his family connection with Lewis. Lewis has also made a killing off government contracts awarded through his private architectural firm as well as his company, Crowd Net Ltd, contracts which amount to hundreds of thousands of euros over the years.
Besides a steady flow of direct orders, Lewis also featured in news reports this year as the architect responsible for the widely-condemned works carried out by authorities in Comino over the summer relating to heavy trenching works on the dirt road leading to the Blue Lagoon.
In spite of Comino’s status as a protected Natura 2000 site and an official appeal from the Ombudsman’s office, the Planning Authority had deemed that the works didn’t require a permit, insisting on defending its decision and allowing the works to go on unchecked.
Specialist Group Cleaners was recently featured in news reports as one of two companies in a joint venture known as Brightness JV, which is embroiled in a public procurement spat with another cleaning company named Managing Consulting Service Industry Limited. The complaint is being heard by the Public Contracts Review Board.
The complaining company sought to nullify an extension of the €2.46 million contract awarded to Brightness JV in 2019, a massive contract for the cleaning of all State schools for two years, arguing that the Education Ministry could not justify extending it without reopening the call to other companies besides Brightness JV. The Education Ministry justified its decision by declaring that it was re-extended with urgency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Construct Furniture is the company against which court proceedings relating to the death of Matthew Bartolo, a 17-year-old who died in a workplace accident in 2015, are still ongoing. Construct Furniture is a regular recipient of government contracts, with its shareholders making millions since Labour came to power through various joint ventures featuring the same people behind various companies.
One joint venture which Construct Furniture shareholders are involved in is SJ Kappara KV, a company that was awarded a €35 million contract for the Kappara project, in spite of Construct Furniture’s inexistent track record in terms of tunnel construction.
Matthew Bartolo’s parents, Leonard and Claudette, broke their silence for the first time in six years in an interview with The Shift on 18 October, speaking up about the traumatising effect the delays in court and lack of clarity about who was responsible for their son’s death have had on the family.
In particular, the family said they felt “terrible” when, just six months after their son’s death, disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat featured in an advertisement for Construct Furniture, and described the move as “insensitive”.
Featured photo – left panel: Wilson Mifsud. Right panel: Prime Minister Robert Abela with Labour party secretary William Lewis.