Heritage Malta €1.2m tender: result of extensions defying procurement rules

New information tabled in parliament shows the direct order was extended twice, despite planning irregularities


A direct order by Heritage Malta costing taxpayers some €1.2 million started off as a lease of only two warehouses in Hal Far, but it was extended and increased twice against public procurement regulations.

The 2016 direct order for two warehouses was first extended in 2018 and increased to three warehouses, and then again last year, adding another two warehouses for a total of five warehouses for €200,000 a year.

The Shift revealed the direct order and that the complex is marred with planning irregularities and has been the subject of an enforcement order issued by the Planning Authority since 2017.

New information sought in parliament by PN MP Julie Zahra confirms that the warehouses complex in Hal Far, property of Hamrun-based Alfaran Trailers Maintenance and Logistics, ended up at the government’s cultural heritage agency without the necessary procedures followed.

Culture Minister Owen Bonnici justified the direct order, saying the agency had suddenly run out of space to store national artefacts and that an expression of interest issued in 2016 and through which a company had already offered the required space was turned down as it offered “more space than required”.

Instead of starting a new competitive process, as is usually done, Heritage Malta chose to refer to a prior call issued in 2014 and choose the Alfaran complex that was still vacant in 2016.

Through a series of direct orders, this was transformed into a ten-year contract until 2029.

Meanwhile, the minister said Heritage Malta, which is in a very difficult financial situation, intends to build its own storage facility and try to identify land with Malta Enterprise and Malta Industrial Parks. Yet the plans mentioned by Bonnici are still in an embryonic stage, and no details have been decided.

Heritage Malta CEO Noel Zammit signed the latest contracts with Alfaran. Again, he has refused to answer questions sent to him on the matter.

A new development application filed last year seeks to sanction the illegalities. The architect handling this application is David Zahra, the Head of Projects at Heritage Malta.

It is unclear why Heritage Malta is fronting the process to sanction the illegalities of a building owned by third parties.


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Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
1 month ago

Public Procurement Regulations do not exist for these entities, and it is there where many corrupt practices are happening to favour the selected few.

1 month ago

No need for these warehouses when you have a minister in gozo who already stores artefacts in his garden with complete impunity?

1 month ago

He may or may not be a criminal but he is certainly a liar as this is a must on a politicians CV I would think?

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