Objector demands government scrap ‘tainted’ process for €25 million cancer treatment facility

The Public Contracts Review Board (PCRB) has been officially asked to revoke an ongoing 25 million tender issued by the government to acquire a multi-million euro cancer treatment facility due to several “irregularities,” including breaches of EU rules.

In a reasoned application filed under the terms of EU public procurement rules, Ganado Advocates, on behalf of Charles de Giorgio Ltd – a company specialising in the supply of medical equipment – said that the tender, as issued, is in breach of several rules, including EU directives, and the process should be completely scrapped.

The firm also asked the PCRB to declare that the way the tender has been structured limits competition and asked for a complete overhaul of the tendering process, including an amendment to ensure the offer makes a distinction between the procurement of the medical equipment needed (an MR Linac) and the building of infrastructure (a bunker at the oncology hospital) to house the new equipment.

The objection to the tender was filed following revelations by The Shift that the Foundation for Medical Services (FMS) and health officials were trying to direct this tender towards their ‘preferred’ supplier, who has previously been involved in a number of other projects with the FMS and in the vitiated concession by the government of three public hospitals.

The issue began last year when, as part of the process to use EU funds to acquire an MR Linac machine, which costs around 10 million, the government issued a Preliminary Market Consultation indicating its needs.

According to the first round of this procurement process, it was clearly stated that the new machine would have to fit into an existing bunker at the oncology hospital in Msida, which had been left empty for this purpose.

However, after the health ministry received submissions from three potential suppliers, it resulted that the machine proposed by the government’s ‘preferred supplier’ did not fit in the empty bunker.

To solve the issue, the second phase of the procurement process was issued with new specifications requiring that a new bunker be built along with the supply of the MR Linac machine, while the existing bunker for this purpose, which cost millions to build, remains empty.

Through this manoeuvre, the estimated cost of the tender has more than doubled, from around 12 million to 25 million.

Confirming The Shift’s report that the procurement of the building of a new bunker was included in the tender “following disclosure by interested economic operators of their respective plans,” Ganado advocates insisted that it didn’t make any sense that the tender was issued as one complete project – the supply of medical equipment and the building of a bunker – instead of two lots, keeping the two processes separate while giving the opportunity to wider competition.

According to the lawyers, this is “unlawful, impossible to perform and discriminatory”.

The Shift is informed that the same supplier involved in the controversy has already tendered and won a similar contract issued by the FMS a few years ago to build a health facility and supply its medical equipment, even though its line of business is purely medical. The multi-million euro facility in the south of Malta has not been completed yet. 

The three prospective bidders who participated in the preliminary market consultation for the MR Linac were Charles de Giorgio Ltd, Suratek and Technoline Ltd.

The tender was published on Easter Sunday and bidders were given only four weeks to make their bids. It took the health authorities four months to write the tender.

                           
                               
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Mick
Mick
2 days ago

A Mafialand special, steeped in cronyism, irregularities, and kickbacks, probably done and dusted.

Francis Said
Francis Said
2 days ago

Is it possible that such an important medical project is not carried out in a professional manner?
Are we all that stupid to accept such a situation? It is time for us to stand up and say no.
Such an important investment, covered by EU funding should be carried out with the utmost professional input.
This project can possibly save lives. Anyone who has passed through the dreaded desese of cancer any many who have lost loved ones to cancer cannot possibly accept such amateurism.

Godfrey Leone Ganado

A new legislature with the same mafia treasury heist objectives.
I hope the new Court Auditor George Hyzler will have a say on behalf of an Independent EU, to monitor EU funds being allocated to Malta, and stop this government’s continuing malpractice, to the detriment of our common good, and the European taxpayers.

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