The privatisation of the Evans Buildings in lower Valletta has hit a snag with a private consortium claiming its bid should be declared the winner even though it was not the highest offer lodged to turn the iconic building into a 5-star hotel.
Valletta Luxury Projects – a consortium involving the De Cesares of the Eden Leisure Hotel and Mark Weingard of the Iniala Hotel – argues its bid of €1.2 million was per year and that it was not the total of its offer for the 65-year deal.
At a total of €78 million, the bid was almost double the second-highest bid, of €40.7 million, offered by Katari Hospitality.
Rival bidders are contesting Valletta Luxury Projects’ line of argumentation, which is being made now after the bidding process has closed and are asking the Office of the Prime Minister to disqualify Valletta Luxury Projects.
The government and Valletta Luxury Projects have so far remained tight-lipped on the issue and have refused to reply to questions or give basic information such as the names of the people behind the bidding consortia.
Eden Leisure has also not replied to questions asking it to explain the tendering blunder. The Department of Contracts and the OPM have also refused to reply to questions.
According to the rigid rules of the tender (Request for Proposals) document issued by the government, “in case of any discrepancy between the information provided in the Financial Bid Form and the total in the tender response format (xml tender structure), the latter shall prevail.”
If the government intends to proceed with evaluating the De Cesare/Weingard submission despite the consortium’s failings in the bid, other bidders could challenge this decision in court.
The evaluation is expected to be carried out by Malta Strategic Partnerships Projects Ltd (formerly known as Projects Malta), which falls under the OPM. This agency was involved in all the shady deals under the Muscat-Mizzi-Schembri triumvirate, including the hospitals’ privatisation deal that the Auditor General and the courts have described as “fraudulent”.
The Request for Proposals specified that bidders were to pay a concession fee of not less than €302,000 a year and a ground rent of a fixed €146,000 a year.
According to documents published by the Department of Contracts, all the other bidders placed their bids correctly, in an aggregate form, except for Valletta Luxury Projects.
Apart from Katari Hospitality, the other bids submitted were from Iconic Hotel Malta (€39.3 million), HV Hospitality (€24 million), AX Group (€22.6 million), Sea Bank Hotel and Catering Ltd (€20.9 million) and Valletta Luxury Properties (€1.2 million).
E in GCSE maths, but an A* in creative accounting
Whom are Valletta Luxury Projects trying to fool.
The net present value of €1.2m a year for 65 years is under €28m if one uses an interest rate of 4%. This is nowhere near the €40.7 million, offered by Katari Hospitality.
I doubt that Katari is offering to pay the full 40.7 million upfront.
People should be opposing the fact that Malta does not need another 5* hotel, the construction in such a prominent area seems to have been over looked. There is enough traffic without delivery vehicles, taxis and coaches adding to the nightmare that is driving in Malta.