The Gozo Curia has received two new direct orders worth over €2.3 million for leasing all the beds available at its San Lawrenz residential home for the elderly to the Gozo Ministry.
A recently-established company fully owned by the Diocese of Gozo, Kura Gozo Company Ltd, was given a €1.6 million direct order for the provision of beds for the elderly last year on top of another €802,000 for a six-month extension of the contract.
The Gozo Diocese had no competition on either occasion and it received the contracts directly since a tender had not been issued. The ministry justified this departure from public procurement rules by saying only Kura Gozo was in a position to provide the service required.
The approval of the first €1.6 million direct order had been given only last February, when the contract had already drawn to an end in December 2022.
Set up in 2019, Kura Gozo was aimed at taking over the various commercial enterprises run by Gozo Curia, led by Bishop Anton Teuma.
Its first two directors are Eddie Zammit, a priest close to Cardinal Mario Grech and Anthony Bezzina, a director at the Gozo Business Chamber.
In 2021, the company assumed the administration of Villa San Lawrenz, another home for the elderly that had been built a few years earlier through donations from the Gozitan faithful.
That residence had for some years been leased to a businessman who in turn had leased the beds to the government. According to an NAO report published late last year, the government was leasing all the residence’s 55 beds and was paying higher than average rates for them.
The Gozo Curia’s latest intake of public funds follows many other instances including its receipt of some €100,000 a year for the lease of Casa San Giuseppe in Ghajnsielem, which was to be opened in 2015 as the government’s first residential home for the elderly.
No discernible progress has been made on the home so far and in the meantime the Gozo Curia continues receiving €100,000 a year from the government for the lease.
Another €3.2 million for contractor Simon Grech
The Gozo Ministry also applied the same negotiated procedure method to award a new direct order to Icare Ltd – the owner of a dementia care facility, Casa Amalia.
Stating that the company was the only one that could offer such services, the Gozo Ministry awarded a €3.2 million direct order for the 23-bed facility in Victoria.
The company has been receiving direct orders for its services since it opened in 2018.
Casa Amalia is owned by Simon Grech, a renowned Gozitan contractor known to be close to Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri, Alan Portelli and Carmel Portelli known as Ta’ Zabrek.
Grech’s partner, Maria Farrugia, is employed as a person of trust within Camilleri’s private secretariat.
Simon Grech has been given multi-million-euro direct orders in recent years for infrastructural projects including the refurbishment of Marsalforn’s menqa area.
He is now planning to open a new home for the elderly in Victoria at the site of the ‘Cupid’ next to the Arkadia complex.
Good way yo get the Curia off the government’s back.
You scratch my back and I’ll scratch your.
I can only see this contract as a bond between the Gozo Curia and the Mafia.
Whilst any entity in the world is perfect. To call the Gozo Curia close to the Mafia is absolutely not acceptable.
The Catholic Church has problems that need strong and determined action to be resolved.
But one has to admit that any entity is made up of human beings, who certainly are not perfect.