Aaron Farrugia defends Ian Borg’s €500,000 tents extravagance

Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia has defended the award of 20 separate direct orders to a single company on the same day by his predecessor, Minister Ian Borg. The collection of direct orders worth a total of half a million euros saw Labour’s mass events provider TEC Ltd hosting the launch of the Metro proposal by Transport Malta.

Following revelations by The Shift that Ian Borg issued 500,000 in direct orders to TEC last November, more than a month after the activity had already taken place, PN MP Toni Bezzina asked for an explanation of each direct order.

However, instead of giving details of the extraordinary expense funded by taxpayers, Minister Farrugia provided a ‘stock’ reply, without giving any details of why no competitive tender was issued, without explaining why the direct orders were awarded after the event had already taken place and without clarifying why half a million euros of public funds was spent on just one event.

Claiming that the direct orders were issued by Transport Malta “to provide services according to particular circumstances,” Farrugia confirmed that the public funds were necessary to hire “a large tent” for 15 days to host an exhibition on the Metro proposal.

According to Farrugia, the half a million euros spent by Borg also including payments related to the tent, including the provision of air conditioning, exhibition furniture, display screens, generators, lights, printing of information material and cleaning.

This means that TEC received some 33,000 a day for the hosting of this exhibition on a proposal which is still in an embryonic stage.

Asked by Bezzina whether all these direct orders were approved by the Finance Ministry before they were issued, Minister Farrugia did not reply.

The Shift has already revealed that this same company, paid half a million for these tents, was also the one selected by Minister Borg to host various activities during his personal electoral campaign in the two districts he contested.

Asked if he had paid TEC for at least six occasions during the campaign in which he used the services of the company and to provide receipts of the payments made, Minister Borg has so far declined to provide the necessary information.

His spokesman told The Shift that the minister has already submitted his campaign expenses report to the Electoral Commission.

Although all campaign expenses reports should have been sent to the Commission by 2 May and made public, Chief Electoral Commissioner Joseph Camilleri has not yet released them, claiming that the commission is still analysing the reports.

According to electoral rules, election candidates must not spend more than 20,000 per district on their campaign.

In the meantime, independent election candidate Arnold Cassola has asked the Standards Commissioner to investigate the possible relationship between the mega-direct orders issued by Minister Borg and his personal election campaign.

Following the election, Prime Minister Robert Abela demoted Minister Borg to the Foreign Affairs portfolio, a ministry with one of the smallest budgets and no capital projects requiring the issue of tenders and direct orders.


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Leonard Schembri
Leonard Schembri
1 month ago

These two arrogant people don’t know the value of money, how hard it is to save one single euro and how many families are facing daily hardships to make ends meet. People who are not in touch with reality. With half a million euros, and similar projects involving millions, our country could easily eradicate poverty but there are too many pigs around who love being dishonest, and greedy and disregard everyone that comes their way. Their day will come as well and will be remembered for their piggishness.

carmelo borg
1 month ago

İd direct order ma ghadhomx ECCEZJONİ imma REGULA. ghumbad jigi caruana jghidilna li hemm bzonn nissikaw ic cintorn. Nissikaw lil baxx imma u il maggoranza tal poplu GAHAN ic capcap MEQ MEQ

J. Kerr
J. Kerr
1 month ago

The company gives its services gratis to the Labour Party and the Labour government hands out generous direct orders in return! I suspect this is what is going on here. We labour to fund the Party with our taxes! Nice, isn’t it?

Emanuel (Noel) Ciantar
Emanuel (Noel) Ciantar
1 month ago

Gvern li huwa Qarnita wahda.

Last edited 1 month ago by Emanuel (Noel) Ciantar

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