More than half a million euros needed to repair new, hardly used shooting range

Barely four years since its inauguration, the new €14 million state-of-the-art shooting range in Ta’ Kandja already needs over half a million euros for repairs.

The Shift is informed that the shooting range, which has been barely used except for the ISSF World Cup in 2018, has incurred major damage to its shot net catchment system, which needs a complete overall.

The facility,  on the outskirts of Siggiewi, has been left practically abandoned over the past years, with little or no maintenance at all having been carried out.

The government, which before the 2017 election had promised the National Shooting Federation the management of the facility, later backtracked on its promise and left the range practically falling apart despite its eight-figure price tag.

Since the range was built in an area normally reserved for the police academy, without a development permit, the facility is left closed for long periods of time because of police training security concerns.

Asked by The Shift to explain how much the required repairs will cost and who will be forking out the massive expense since the national shooting range is still almost new, SportMalta, the government agency responsible for the range’s management, is refusing to reply.

Mark Cutajar, SportMalta’s government-appointed CEO, refused to say whether the repairs will be covered by the original installers themselves, who were paid millions of euros in direct orders in 2017 to carry out what was a rushed project rife with suspicious direct orders and budget overruns – so much so that the project was condemned by the National Audit Office investigation.

Government sources told The Shift that the repairs needed, particularly on the backstop after it was left abandoned without any maintenance over recent years, are expected to cost over €600,000 which will be paid by taxpayers.

A tender calling for companies wishing to provide the necessary services has already been issued by SportMalta and is expected to close soon.

Announced on the eve of the 2017 election by disgraced prime minister Joseph Muscat in a ploy to attract the votes of shooting enthusiasts and of the hunting lobby, the project was turned into a case of total mismanagement and irregularities that were documented in detail by the NAO.

Originally planned to cost €7 million, the project ended up costing taxpayers twice as much with most of the work having been awarded without a tendering process and instead through the awarding of massive direct orders.

With Parliamentary Secretary Chris Bonnet now at the helm of SportMalta, the former Malta Football Association lawyer authorised a total of 24 direct orders worth millions of euros to a few selected contractors who were close to the government.

Bonnici Brothers, whose managing director Gilbert Bonnici, was in the property development business with Prime Minister Robert Abela, took the bulk of direct orders, with a value of over €6.5 million.

Almost all these direct orders were handed out without the necessary authorisations and, in many cases, were not even covered by performance guarantees.

The backstop portion of the project, which Bonnici Brothers was given by direct order, cost €2.3 million while the shot net system, now in need of massive repairs, set taxpayers back another €2.3 million.

BAVA holdings, whose shareholders are Labour’s close associates Construct Furniture, took the bulk of the rest of Bonnet’s direct orders, which were also worth millions.

Following the NAO report, the police had started investigating corruption claims in the authorisation of direct orders for the project but no charges were ever filed.

                           
                               
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Shirley-anne Cecchini
Shirley-anne Cecchini
16 days ago

Knock it down and build a block of flat’s. Isn’t that what happens here?

makjavel
makjavel
16 days ago

These are the same types who built the Msida School which had to be demolished before its opening. But those who gave these contractors millions for fuck all, drag a priest to the courts for helping his parishioners during hard times and nobody in his parish has thrown the first stone.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
16 days ago

Not for the time being, please – we are trying to cut public expenditure by 200 million Euros at the moment!

Last edited 16 days ago by Joseph Tabone Adami
Godwin Dalli
Godwin Dalli
16 days ago

is-soltu. imbrolji tal-gvern korrott u bla direzzjoni. L’aqwa li jgawdu l-hbieb ta’ dawn il-ministri. Abbandun totali sar hawn f’dan il-pajjiz. Sirt nitqalla naqra dawn il-hnizrijiet.

Francis Said
Francis Said
16 days ago

Then it will take years for the police investigation and nothing or better nobody will be taken to Court.
Justice delayed is justice denied.
How the majority of the people of goodwill, both PN/PL leaning do not cry out with one voice.
ENOUGH 😠

Grezju
Grezju
16 days ago

Morru sal Akkademja u taraw kemm ikun hemm comb jew x jghidilhom mal art u fuq il karozzi….Tant u hekk tfal tafhna jghidilhom biex ma jharrsux il fuq habba dan comb.

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