Minister says contractor is not his canvasser but refuses to explain

The case highlights the government’s use of the framework contract system to circumvent public procurement regulations and give direct orders to preferred contractors.

 

Social Accommodation Minister Roderick Galdes is refusing to explain how a particular contractor had been selected for a contract by the Housing Authority, which falls under his political remit.

The minister failed to answer questions by Opposition MP Darren Carabott on how Jeremy Portelli – a one-man construction outfit – had been contracted by the Housing Authority to perform a financially advantageous enforcement operation at a block of government flats in Valletta.

The case has highlighted the government’s use of the so-called ‘framework contract system’ to circumvent public procurement regulations and give direct orders to preferred contractors.

Galdes also rebuked the Opposition MP for claiming that the contractor was his canvasser.

Pressed by Carabott to present the invoices related to the job, Galdes refused to do so and claimed the Opposition MP was “mounting a personal attack against him”.

“It is shameful that you are mentioning this contractor who has come forward to do an enforcement job on the Housing Authority’s behalf,” Galdes said.

“I have no canvasser with the name of Jeremy Portelli, and God forbid I had to check which contractor is to be given a job according to their political beliefs.”

But Galdes still refused to entertain Carabott’s original question and failed to explain the selection process or present any invoices for Portelli’s payment/s.

Minister Galdes’ parliamentary outburst came only a few days after The Shift reported the Housing Authority had turned down a freedom of information request to publish all payments for jobs Portelli carried out for the authority over the last two years.

The Shift has also reported that Portelli is known to be close to Galdes and has in the past acted as his canvasser.

A former prison warden turned contractor just a few years ago, Portelli regularly posts photographs with Galdes and heaps praise on his ‘favourite minister’ on social media.

Portelli and Galdes photographed during an electoral campaign activity last March.

Sources close to Galdes have insisted Portelli is around the minister regularly and “helps out” in his district’s political campaign activities.

Portelli was also close to former Housing Authority CEO Leonid McKay, who he describes as “a very intelligent person”.

Portelli singing the praises of former Housing Authority CEO Leonid McKay on social media.

Portelli’s company was inserted in the Housing Authority’s list of contractors in the framework contract system during McKay’s tenure at the Housing Authority.

Galdes has a lot to answer for’ – Shadow Minister Ivan Bartolo

In a statement earlier this week after The Shift’s original story, Galdes’ Opposition shadow minister Ivan Bartolo took Galdes and the government to task for continuing to use the so-called ‘framework contract system’, as in Portelli’s case.

Already used widely at Infrastructure Malta and other government entities, the framework contract system is another way of circumventing public procurement regulations and handing direct orders out to preferred contractors.

Through an open public call, contractors are invited to be placed on a list specifying fixed payment rates for random work that may be required in the future. When the need for such work arises, the entity decides which contractors are chosen for which assignments.

Bartolo described the system as “abusive” in that it allows the government to award public procurement – sometimes worth hundreds of thousands of euros – to selected individuals without issuing a public call.

Bartolo expressed the Nationalist Party’s “concern that the abuse at the Housing Authority revealed by The Shift News is another among a long list of abuses that are coming out every day.

“It is unacceptable that you have to be from within the core, one of a minister’s canvassers or a Labour Party financier, for you to succeed in accessing public funds.

“Minister Roderick Galdes has a lot to answer for. What will Robert Abela do when he has to face another minister caught abusing the power that he has vested in him?” Bartolo asked.

                           
                           
                               
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Greed
Greed
10 days ago

What will robber do? Sweet FA except continuity as he had sworn to do and is keeping that part true to his word

carlos
10 days ago

Nobody from the muvument korrott will answer for anything. They’re a bunch of corrupt greedy pigs.

joe tedesco
joe tedesco
10 days ago

ANOTHER MINISTER NOT TO BE TRUSTED IN A LONG LIST.

El Kokka
El Kokka
7 days ago

Jien ninsab ċert, aktar minn ċert insomma. Jeżisti aġġettiv ieħor li juri ‘aktar minn ċert’? Jien aktar minn ċert, u ċert fuq li ċert, illi dan huwa każ ta’ meritokrazija; fejn kull applikazzjoni tiġi vvettjata u analizzata qabel ma tingħażel. Bħalma seħħ meta nħatar CEO ġdid tal-Awtorità tad-Djar, kif ukoll kull promozzjoni u għażla li ssir. Jien ċert illi dejjem jagħtu kas iċ-ċertifikati kollha u dejjem tingħażel l-aħjar persuna għal xi kariga. Jien nafdahom kollha, b’għajnejja magħluqin, aktar minn kemm ikunu magħluqin billejl jew xħin naħsel xagħri ma jmurx jidħolli xi shampoo fihom u jbikkini. Prosit tassew, u komplu sejrin hekk għax qed tagħmlu unur kbir lil pajjiżna kemm fl-erba’ kantunieri li qed ngħixu fihom, kif ukoll fl-Ewropa u fid-dinja kollha. Anke l-ħut u l-għasafar mill-qiegħ tal-baħar u mill-għoli tas-smewwiet rispettivament, waqt illi jikkomunikaw bejniethom ninsab aktar minn ċert li jammiraw il-mudelli użati f’pajjiżna. Prosit mill-ġdid u komplu għamluni kburi li ngħix f”din l-art ħelwa, l-omm li tatna isimha’!

Thomas
Thomas
4 days ago

Such practices, as described in this article, are usually called ‘distortion of competition’ and ‘might’ contravene EU rules which are also, as I have to assume, part of the public procurement regulations of Malta.

Obviously, by this example, the PL isn’t in for fair competition, and not just in regards of public procurement, as plenty of articles in the recent past have pointed out. The article also shows again the true meaning of the word ‘friendship’ among the PLers. I prefer to stay away from them, as I always avoided to get in direct contact with them out there in the real world, because their world view is really not mine and therefore, I don’t really trust any of them. Back in those days when I hardly knew much about the MLP, I always had some unexplainable feeling that it is better to stay away from them. What I have learnt in the past years, proves my feeling to have been right all along. What I have read in comments posted by the PLers themselves on media outlets also proved my feeling to be right.

To circumvent regulations is just another way to undermine lawful regulations in place by ignoring them. Another example of ‘Lex Partit Laburista’, out of so many because that is the ‘order of the day’ with them. Therefore, for those who have had enough of the PL propaganda and the decline of standards in Malta in a wider societal sense, it is good to have Ths Shift News operating and revealing the truth.

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