Gozo Ministry Permanent Secretary John Borg is refusing to explain why the ministry is ignoring the law by having not published any direct order information over the past two years.
While the Gozo Ministry under Clint Camilleri has become renowned for using direct orders to curry favour with constituents and friendly businesses, the ministry has only published lists of direct orders for the year 2020.
Asked for an explanation, the permanent secretary, currently in the news for potential employee discrimination, is refusing to explain.
Asked by Opposition MP Chris Said to table a list of all the direct orders the Gozo Ministry has awarded over the last two years, the minister avoided a reply by stating the information will be made public “in some other session”.
According to strict public procurement rules, direct orders of over €10,000 are only to be awarded in exceptional circumstances and the acquisition of goods and services of over that value must be done through a competitive tender.
The rules also specify that every six months every ministry and public authority has to publish a list of all direct orders that exceed €5,000 in the Government Gazette.
But in the case of the Gozo Ministry, the latest list published dates back to the last semester of 2020, with no information having been made public for 2021 and 2022.
Gozo Ministry sources told The Shift that the exercise, when published, will clearly show how the Gozo Ministry “is operating like a village bazaar issuing direct orders left, right and centre and trying to keep everyone happy.”
Gozo now has three ministers in the favours for votes competition. In the last election, incumbent Gozo Minster Clint Camilleri obtained the most votes out of his rivals, over 6,000. However, his bid to remove veteran Anton Refalo was unsuccessful and even though he was ousted from the Gozo Ministry, he still managed to get over 5,000 votes.
Most of the Gozitans have either been employed directly or indirectly by the government or its entities. Many were also abusively given ‘phantom jobs’ where they rarely make it to their official place of work, while they work elsewhere in the construction or services industries.