Infrastructure Malta ordered to cancel €55 million tender awarded to Joseph Portelli

A €55 million government contract earmarked for Gozitan developer Joseph Portelli has been cancelled after the Public Contracts Review Board (PCRB) found that Infrastructure Malta was wrong to disqualify a bidder who offered to do the same work for €18 million less.

The cheapest offer submitted was €37.5 million but the contract to build a new quay and cargo handling facilities at Ras Hanzir, an abandoned area at the Grand Harbour, was awarded to Portelli’s consortium, Excel Sis, for €55.4 million.

Bonnici Brothers objected to the awarding of the tender, forking out another €50,000 to appeal. The PCRB ordered the decision cancelled and said Infrastructure Malta, which falls under the political remit of Minister Ian Borg, must appoint a new evaluation committee.

Eight submissions were made for the tender, which had to be awarded to the cheapest compliant offer. The PCRB decision now puts Bonnici Brothers (NQuay Malta) at the forefront to win the EU-funded tender.

A war between friends

Both consortia are known for their proximity to the ruling Labour Party.

Joseph Portelli, who openly admitted in a recent interview with The Times of Malta that he regularly speaks to politicians to push his projects through, has been named in connection with a number of illegalities across the islands, including the construction and operation of an illegal concrete batching plant in Gozo, built in broad daylight on government property and left unhindered to operate until this day.

He is also known to be close to Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg.

On the other hand, Bonnici Brothers have been receiving millions in direct orders from the government, particularly on large road projects. One of their biggest deals was made in 2017 and 2018 when they were given repeated multi-million euro direct orders to construct the national shooting range facilities in Ta’ Kandja. The NAO later found these contracts were “irregular” while the shooting range project remains incomplete.

Robert Abela + Bonnici Brothers

Prime Minister Robert Abela inaugurating Bonnici Brothers’ new plant.

An investigation by The Shift revealed how, apart from serving as Bonnici Group’s legal counsel, Prime Minister Robert Abela was also personally involved in business with Gilbert Bonnici, the managing director of the group.

Together with his wife, Lydia Abela, and Gilbert Bonnici, Robert Abela redeveloped a terraced house in Iklin into a block of flats. All the apartments built were sold just before Abela became prime minister.

Former Planning Authority CEO Ian Stafrace represented Joseph Portelli at the PCRB hearing while John Gauci appeared for Bonnici Brothers.

It is not yet known whether Portelli will file an appeal.


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carmelo borg
2 years ago

İnsomma İl borma tkompli tithawwad. Barra il Mafia Maltija hawn MAZUNERİJA QAWWİJA. Saqsu lil MARK CAMİLLERİ Ex Socjalist (Tal Kotba).

2 years ago
Reply to  carmelo borg

Mazunerija!?? Mafia enormi! Mur ara min ghandu jiddefendih Konrad Mizzi! U ara fuq xiex hu mdahhal!

2 years ago

Mhux ovja li jghollu s somma ghal dawk il miljuni kollha w jaghzlu dik t tender, meta ma dan hemm irjus kbar jinhbew wara ismu!!

Albert Mamo
Albert Mamo
2 years ago


2 years ago

Kellu ragun il-Ministru Zammit Lewis jghajjar lill-Laburisti gahan biex jibqaw jaghtu l-appogg lil din it-tmexxijja korrotta

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