€25 million Lascaris Wharf contract set to go to company linked to two workplace deaths in three years

Contract which was set to go to Polidano Group, who were disqualified over tax issues, now going to GP Borg Group

 

A company linked to at least two known workplace deaths over the past three years is set to be awarded a massive €25 million contract for the upgrading and extension of quays on the Lascaris Wharf.

The tender issued by Infrastructure Malta was originally set to go to the cheapest bidder, Polidano Group, was cancelled due to millions in tax arrears. The tender was instead allocated to G&P Borg Ltd which had originally appealed the decision to award the tender to Polidano Group. The appellants’ bid cost €5 million more than the bid filed by Polidano Group.

An investigation conducted by The Shift revealed that at least two of GP Borg Group’s employees lost their lives in fatal accidents over the past three years, raising questions about the company’s workplace safety practices.

On 3 February, a 71-year-old man from Mġarr, Carmelo Micallef, died in an accident while he was helping a colleague manoeuvre a large vehicle on a narrow country road in Birżebbuġia. The vehicle hit Micallef, killing him on site.

A photo from the Malta Police Force shows the truck that hit Carmelo Micallef in the accident that led to his death.

While the police’s press release had not referred to Micallef by name, The Shift has confirmed that Micallef was the person who lost his life in the accident. A magisterial inquiry led by magistrate Doreen Clarke is still ongoing.

On 18 June 2019, a 23-year-old man from Mali, whose identity so far remains unknown given the fact that the police do not name the victims of such accidents, died after falling from a height of four storeys during the construction of Qawra’s primary school.

According to the scant information available, the worker died after the plank he was standing on broke, suffering serious injuries that eventually led to his death.

Multiple sources, including a post from GP Borg Group itself about the commencement of works on the primary school in Qawra, confirmed that the 23-year-old man was an employee of the company and that it was the company that was working on the project.

A screenshot of the post which shows that GP Borg Group were contracted to work on the Qawra primary school site.

Questions have been sent to GP Borg Group to ask for a comment on the two workplace deaths flagged in this article as well as the company’s health and safety practices in relation to those two cases. The original company which was the precursor to the formation of the group, G&P Borg Ltd, lists a total of eight shareholders – Kevin Borg, George Borg, Jason Borg, Paul Borg, Diane Buttigieg, Brian Borg, Conrad Borg and Sandra Calleja.

Besides bidding for the highly lucrative Lascaris Wharf contract, GP Borg Group was also one of the bidders involved in the highly controversial Marsascala yacht marina project.

In the run-up to the 2022 general elections, following months of pressure and protests from Marsascala’s residents as well as activists involved in the setting up of a localised pressure group, Prime Minister Robert Abela had stated that the project would not go ahead, leading to the scrapping, or postponement, of what would have been a 50-year concession to operate the marina.

                           
                               
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