€6 million ‘extra’ for Central Link contractors, similar added costs on Ta’ Qali concert park

The Central Link project has already cost taxpayers a staggering 6 million over and above the 28 million costs of the original contract issued in 2017 by Infrastructure Malta (IM), an analysis by The Shift has found.

The main beneficiaries of the so-called ‘variations’ and ‘additional works,’ most of them undocumented, are road contractors V&C Contractors Ltd, Schembri Barbros and Schembri Holdings, known as Id-Dobbu, all companies known to be close to former Transport Minister Ian Borg.

Available public data, published in various issues of the Government Gazette over the last two years,  show that while the original contract for the rebuilding of the road between Mriehel and Rabat was budgeted to cost taxpayers a total of 28.4 million, Infrastructure Malta, with the approval of the finance ministry, added on a series of extra works and variations, without a tender, to the same contractors, thereby increasing the cost of the project to over 34 million.

Industry sources told The Shift that spending on the works is expected to increase further as, contrary to the conditions of the original contract, which is partly financed by the EU, construction hasn’t yet finished, and a new unplanned underpass next to the MFSA headquarters in Mriehel was added, driving the costs up by a further, yet to be determined, number of additional millions of euros.

The underpass contract was once again awarded to the same contractors by Infrastructure Malta via direct orders, which it explained by saying it was better for the contractors who won the original tender to carry out the construction.

While according to Infrastructure Malta, the additional underpass should not cost more than the original value of the tender, this is not what has happened, and several further millions of euros are expected to be added to the final bill.

Apart from the 28.4 million budgeted in the original tender, the three contractors working under the name of Link-2018 JV Consortium were given three separate ‘variations’ to the costs of their work for a total of 3.7 million, while other ancillary works, not envisaged in the original contract, were added.

These included the resurfacing of the Mount Carmel Hospital ring road (220,000); undisclosed additional works (500,000); resurfacing of Vjal De Paul in Attard (200,000); the resurfacing of Saqqajja Hill in Rabat (850,000); the provision of hardstone blocks (21,000); installation of potable water pipes (451,000) and the design of the new underpass (27,000).

According to industry sources, additional works and variations have become commonplace on large projects, thus increasing the profit made by contractors on these tenders significantly at the expense of other bidders who would have submitted higher but more ‘realistic’ offers.

V&C Contractors, owned by Vince Borg, known as Ċensu n-Nizz, a former PN activist who turned Labour after the change of administration, is experiencing the same taxpayers’ ‘bonanza’ on another multi-million-euro project he was entrusted with by Infrastructure Malta. 

A new concert venue at the Ta’ Qali National Park, awarded to Ċensu n-Nizz for 12.6 million, and which is supposed to be already completed, is still a work-in-progress as more and more ‘variations’ to the original plans, and price, are approved.

During the last six months of 2021, two variations of 300,000 and 1.4 million were approved for the works which V&C are carrying at Ta’ Qali.

These have already hiked the costs of the project by 13% over budget, and more costs are expected to mount up in the coming months.

It is not known what type of inspections and auditing by the government to assure that it’s getting value for money on the additional millions of taxpayer euros being pumped into these projects, nor whether the costs of these variations are being accurately measured.

                           
                               
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viv
viv
15 days ago

Mafia

viv
viv
15 days ago

Why is everyone blind to the mafia?

James
James
14 days ago
Reply to  viv

Because they themselves belong to the Mafia???

M.Galea
M.Galea
14 days ago
Reply to  viv

Because this government brainwashed everyone, alienated everyone, and everyone is let free doing whatever they want! And that is why this government is success!

James Wightman
James Wightman
15 days ago

So why are cycle lanes not rounded curves, connected up, finished routes or on the wrong side of the road so they are parked on and blocked? Asking for a friend.

KLAUS
KLAUS
14 days ago

Only pathetic crooks dare not make their misdeeds public. With silence they hope to cover this up. But it becomes deafening as a result.

John Bonnici
John Bonnici
14 days ago

The bigger the expenditure the bigger the commission envelope !!!!
Useless to ask for a thorough investigation.

James
James
14 days ago
Reply to  John Bonnici

Absolutely useless!!!

Those on the payroll appointed by their paymasters being asked to investigate and prosecute their paymasters is never going to happen in beautiful Malta is it??

Come on Moneyval, EPPO, FATF etc., you need to do the job for us because hell will freeze over first if left to the misnamed ” proper authorities” in Malta!

M.Galea
M.Galea
14 days ago
Reply to  John Bonnici

Bingo, you got it right!

Joe Debono
Joe Debono
14 days ago

It is always the same old story with the same people under both Governments. Nothing has changed just the minister but the system remained in place, as corrupt as ever.
I was reading today on the independent,Polidano too got his share of direct orders 1million + as PBL and another 1million + through ELC where he is a shareholder, this when he is supposed to be blacklisted

John
John
13 days ago

Has anyone investigated his business links with VC contractors? Same contractor of central link and ta qali? It is an open secret which somehow no one has yet investigated.

M.Galea
M.Galea
12 days ago
Reply to  John

This minister should be investigated and prosecuted. But this is Malta!

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