‘War’ being waged over multi-million-euro Zammit Clapp contract amid claims of foul play

Law firms closely connected to the highest echelons of government have been commissioned to wage a ‘war’ over a multi-million-euro contract determining who will take over the management of the government’s Zammit Clapp residence for the elderly in St Julian’s, documents show.

Zammit Clapp has been managed for more than a decade by Care Malta, a company controlled by construction magnate Zaren Vassallo. Yet a new tender has seen another big developer, Paul Attard who is connected to the GAP Group, putting in a lower bid.

Attard’s company was awarded the contract to manage the government facility for the next four years at a cost of €11.9 million.

But the process has now been stalled as Vassallo’s Care Malta has claimed foul play, suggesting that Attard’s Golden Care Ltd should not have been assigned the contract as it did not satisfy eligibility criteria.

Through his lawyers, Dalli Paris Advocates, co-owned by Labour propagandist Luke Dalli, Vassallo is claiming that Attard’s company does not have the required experience – a mandatory three years in the running of an old people’s home.

According to Care Malta, marks allocated by the tender’s evaluation committee were “unjust” and “unfair”.

Vassallo’s bid stood at €12.7 million, some €800,000 higher than Golden Care’s offer.

Attard, in turn, commissioned lawyer Ryan Pace – a former associate at Prime Minister Robert Abela’s law firm and given various public appointments in the past two years including being appointed chairman of the Gaming Authority despite his young age and lack of experience.

Rejecting Vassallo’s claims, Pace denied that Golden Care did not have the necessary experience, claiming that Care Malta was misinterpreting the rules.

So far, the Director of Contracts is siding with Golden Care, putting forward similar arguments. The issue will now be decided by the Public Contracts Review Board, with a possibility of an appeal in court.

Secrecy leads to claims of abuse

The running of the lucrative market of old people’s homes has been kept shrouded in secrecy for years with the government restricting information, citing ‘commercial secrecy’.

Through the Active Aging Ministry, now under the control of new Gozitan Minister Jo Etienne Abela, the government runs its homes either through private contractors or enters into public-private partnerships (PPPs) with several private homes to rent out beds at these facilities.

While the scheme has managed to significantly reduce the number of elderly people waiting for residential care, the rates being paid by the government – which amount to tens of millions of euros a year – are not divulged.

The Shift is informed that this lack of transparency is resulting in “possible abuse” by government officials on the different rates negotiated with different private homes, the number of beds and contract durations.

A report by the NAO on rates being paid by the government to a facility managed by James Caterers and DB Group on behalf of the government through a €274 million direct order concluded the contract is “irregular” and does not justify value for money.

The government ignored the report and the deal remains in place.


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2 years ago


Francis Said
Francis Said
2 years ago

The NAO is ignored. What sort of checks and balances does the PL has in force to ensure a good and transparent administration?
It seems none. Another defeat for democracy and a wide open door and window open for corrupt practices.
Well done Bob & Co.

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