Cost of Acting President’s ‘mystery shopping’ tender increases by €152,000

Tista’ taqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti

There is no end to the fortune of academic Frank Bezzina, who steps in to replace President George Vella at San Anton Palace whenever President George Vella is abroad, which tends to happen at inconvenient times.

Bezzina, a Pro-Rector at the University of Malta, was appointed Acting President by Prime Minister Robert Abela in an unprecedented move widely seen as easing the passage of the controversial amendments to the IVF law.

Bezzina, and his partner Vincent Marmara, the Labour Party’s pollster, were paid an additional  €152,000 on top of the value of the tender they had won by placing a cheaper bid.

In 2019, the pair were tasked with conducting “mystery shopping for the public administration” through a commercial business they own together, called Power Knowledge. Both hold various other government appointments.

While Bezzina and Marmara beat the competition for this tender by submitting the lowest bid at €453,000, things immediately changed after the adjudication process closed.

As soon as the assignment started, Power Knowledge was commissioned more work, increasing the initial value of the tender.

In the end, the Acting President and Labour’s chief pollster received €605,000 for the job – an increase of more than 33%.

While variations in costs are ‘normal’ with tenders, these are normally limited to under 5%.

Even sources close to the OPM could not explain “why a simple study should register such a high increase in cost.”

They also confirmed, “the finance ministry asked no questions and just approved the variation”.

Frank Bezzina was catapulted to the post of Acting President by Prime Minister Robert Abela instead of former minister Dolores Cristina who had served in the post for a number of years.

His appointment had caused quite a stir. He is an unknown in the field of public administration or politics. Still, there was no doubt about his purpose – the first thing Bezzina did when he arrived at the Presidential Palace was to sign the file left behind by President George Vella on the controversial amendments to the IVF law.

Apart from his business ventures with Marmara, lecturing at University and stepping in for President Vella, the government also appointed Bezzina as Chairman of Wasteserv and a member of the board of governors of the Central Bank.

                           
                               
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Mariatheresa Micallef
Mariatheresa Micallef
4 days ago

Kif ma taqbadhomx indigistjoni??

carlos
carlos
4 days ago

H A L E L L I N ta flus il-poplu. Frott imnawwar tal- muvument korrott.

makjavel
makjavel
4 days ago

Robbing banks is a waste of time. Join the ranks of the privilaged and get away with murder.

KLAUS
KLAUS
4 days ago

I think …:
How can these people still be seen on the streets at all? 

We do recognise them:
RED is written on their foreheads: 
I have taken money.
I have taken YOUR money.
I have illegally taken money from Maltese.
I am not a person of honour.

How are you going to explain that to your children?
How shall your children be proud of you?

HOW???

Michael Mifsud
Michael Mifsud
4 days ago

Your article is incorrect, variations can be up to 50% of the contract value as long as it is declared in the tender.

Joseph Micallef
Joseph Micallef
3 days ago
Reply to  Michael Mifsud

You are wrong. The max I’ve ever seen was 20%. And only the Minister of Finance can approve bigger variations and additions to a contract and this has to be substantiated before any additional work can be executed.

Last edited 3 days ago by Joseph Micallef
Michael Mifsud
Michael Mifsud
3 days ago

You are incorrect, the total variation of a tender can be up to 50% of the contract value. It is up to the authority to declare in the tender document how much the variation will be. A variation can be either a repetition or addition, cumulatively it must not exceed the 50%.

No one can approve a variation unless it is declared in a tender document.

karmenu Psaila
karmenu Psaila
3 days ago
Reply to  Michael Mifsud

But was it declared in the Tender ???

Francis Said
Francis Said
4 days ago

And the Minister for Finance the Hon. Clyde Caruana wants to reduce government expenditure by 200 million euros!!!!

KLAUS
KLAUS
3 days ago
Reply to  Francis Said

… to have more money to loot

Bamboccu
Bamboccu
3 days ago

Flus ghal dan il hmieg u taffig isibu pero flus biex ittejbu l pagi tan nies mal Gvern ma jsibux, b uhud minnhom lanqas COLA ta’ jtughhom

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