Infrastructure Malta, the government roads agency controlled by Minister Ian Borg, has postponed the award of €31 million in public works to tax dodger Carmel (Charles) Polidano, known as Ic-Caqnu, until after the general elections, The Shift is informed.
While announcing that two tenders issued by the government have been ‘awarded’ to Polidano Brothers, who is supposed to be blacklisted because of a €40 million pending tax bill, the agency is stating that it cannot comment at this stage.
According to public procurement rules, Polidano, who is currently facing a multitude of court suits filed by the Inland Revenue Department over millions in pending taxes, cannot be awarded government contracts.
Asked to explain how, despite public knowledge of Ic-Caqnu’s precarious tax situation, the government still declared his company as the awardee of two contracts, one for the extension of the Marsamxett ferry landing place, worth €11.8 million, and another for the extension of Pinto Wharf in Valletta, worth €19.7 million, Infrastructure Malta said that the ‘award’ is not final.
“Contract award recommendations are not final since they are subject to the presentation of a valid tax compliance certification, and to the objection (appeals) period,” a spokesman told The Shift.
“Infrastructure Malta cannot comment about the two procurement processes since the applicable objection periods have not elapsed yet,” he added.
Incidentally, so far, none of Ic-Caqnu’s competitors for the same projects have presented an appeal despite the precarious tax situation of Polidano Brothers.
The Shift is reliably informed that IM is awaiting the general elections to pass so ‘a solution’ can be found for Ic-Caqnu.
Only a few weeks ago, the government replaced Marvin Gaerty as the chief government taxman with Joseph Caruana, a former canvasser of Minister Evarist Bartolo who was removed from permanent secretary at the education ministry after his brother, Edward Caruana was arraigned in court over bribery and corruption at the Foundation for Tomorrow Schools. The alleged corruption happened on his brother’s watch.
Ic-Caqnu needs Caruana’s signature to be able to take the €31 million contracts.