Labour pollster kept on seven year €370,000 retainer at MGA

Labour pollster Vince Marmara has been kept on retainer at the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) for the past seven years, receiving €4,251 every month from taxpayer funds.

A full-time senior lecturer at the University of Malta, Marmara made a name for himself conducting and publishing regular political polls on the General Workers’ Union’s (GWU) weekly it-Torca.

While the cash-strapped GWU newspaper – an unofficial weekly of the Labour Party – never revealed if and how much it pays for these normally expensive monthly polls, Marmara continues to invoice the MGA for unspecified ‘research and consultancy services’.

The Shift is informed that his first 12-month contract dates back to October 2014 and was signed by disgraced former CEO Joseph Cuschieri. It has since been renewed six times by direct order, in breach of public procurement rules that require a competitive tender to be issued. It’s not known why the MGA has given so many direct orders to Marmara, rather than hire a full-time professional or statistician’s service at a lower rate.

The Shift is informed that the monthly payment to Marmara is ongoing, amounting to a total of €370,000 so far, for services he provides on a part-time basis.

According to his original contract, seen by The Shift, invoices submitted by Marmara must list the major tasks he worked on during the previous month. This clause is being ignored, and the MGA is being sent general monthly invoices that do not list any specific work completed for the authority.

The clause in Marmara’s contract stating that his invoices should list major tasks completed during the billing month.

Marmara’s invoice.

The MGA is also in breach of contract for not insisting on the need for detailed invoices, but it continues to pay Marmara for unspecified services.

Asked to explain what work Marmara is doing for the MGA, and to provide the reason for hiring him on repeated direct orders without any form of competition, the MGA CEO Carl Brincat refused to reply. Brincat also refused to explain why he continues to approve monthly payments to the Labour pollster when Marmara’s invoices breach the conditions of the contract.

MGA Chairman Ryan Pace, a young lawyer who worked with the private legal firm of Prime Minister Robert Abela before being appointed to the gaming regulator, also failed to provide an explanation.

Marmara’s name comes up regularly on the lists of direct order published by the government. His services were also used by the Office of the President for the organisation of a conference on national unity. His partner in that initiative was former PN communication strategist Lou Bondi.

                           
                               
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M.Galea
M.Galea
2 months ago

X ma jaghmilx surveys!

Leonard
Leonard
2 months ago

So Vincent Marmara, the former Zurrieq Labout Councillor, has been earning 5000 euro per month since 2014.

He never turned up at MGA’s offices.

When Minister Silvio Schembri was asked by Nationalist MP Ryan Callus to publish the list of direct orders by MGA, Schembri did not divulge this direct order to Marmara.

That clearly shows that the Minister lied. The Labout Minister hid the truth. Why?

Was Marmara being paid from MGA funds in order to publish bogus surveys in favour of the Labout Government? By showing that the Labour Government was popular in surveys, the Nationalists would be discouraged and disheartened. That would then eventually lead to the PN to feel helpless. The end result would be that his surveys would be reflected in reality, or so called reality.

Fati
Fati
2 months ago
Reply to  Leonard

His published perspectives regarding coronavirus, have been primarily attempts to shape public opinion in ways that put the state in a good light. Whereas the actions of the state have mostly been reprehensible (e.g. the failed tourism strategies of Julia Farrugia Portelli, Clayton Bartolo, Silvio Schembri; lack of pandemic preparedness, …).

Grace
Grace
2 months ago

The Police should immediately investigate this direct order and all involved. This smells really bad.

makjavel
makjavel
2 months ago
Reply to  Grace

The Police? and get transferred to patrolling the streets if successful?

Diane
Diane
2 months ago

Brilliant work by TheShiftnews in revealing all this.

The Internal Auditor of the Malta Gaming Authority, James Grech, has been blatantly campaigning for Minister Aaron Farrugia. This was also revealed by TheShiftNews. Seems like the Malta Gaming Authority has been turned into a Kazin tal-Labour, just like MFSA.

viv
viv
2 months ago

Good journalism is essential for democracy, and Malta requires a fourth pillar – now more than ever. Thanks to all at The Shift.

Fati
Fati
2 months ago
Reply to  viv

Marmara is a bullshitter. His coronavirus comments have only been an attempt to convince citizens of the supposedly greatness of the labour party.

MGA
MGA
2 months ago

He is not the only one being paid by the MGA using this method. The minister and the authority are just hidding the document trail.

Joe
Joe
2 months ago

And Net TV’s Dione Borg in his infinite wisdom invites Marmara to appear during prime time as some kind of authoritative guru. Do the people running the PN’s media really want the party to win?

Fati
Fati
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe

It shows how many in this country lack the STEM Skills necessary to function in today’s technological world. In the fourteenth century, educated people knew that the earth was round. Educated people today have no clue how long the vaccine booster will remain effective, including Gauci, who was quickly elevated to something special by the naive population.

SpidermanPOI
SpidermanPOI
2 months ago
makjavel
makjavel
2 months ago

Where have the BILLIONS gone??? The Road Map to the Bank of State. Malta owes somebody €10,000 MILLION/ Who is this SOMEBODY? Is it CHINA? Is it RUSSIA?

Frans Camilleri
Frans Camilleri
2 months ago
Reply to  makjavel

Dont be ridiculous. You dont need to ask. All you have to do is read the publushed statistics

JOHN CASSAR
2 months ago

Marmara’s surveys are all fake. I was always dubious of them. A wolf with the skin of a lamb

Ray Gatt
Ray Gatt
2 months ago

Not surprised at all! And if PL stays in power, he’ll get even more. Shame on you Mr. Marmara. May I suggest you ask the question in a poll if voters agree you should get a direct order for consultancy (what a joke) worth over €5,000 monthly? You are just like the rest of them!

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