Some €140,000 were given to handpicked suppliers, circumventing a formal tender procedure, to host the Christmas in the Park event at Salini Park last December.
The second edition of the Christmas Village was held throughout December 2022. Energy Minister Miriam Dalli said it aimed to bring people closer to the environment, combining it with the joy of the festive season.
But information recently published in the Government Gazette shows that it also brought joy to a number of entertainment and events companies to the tune of tens of thousands of euros each.
The data shows that instead of following procurement rules and issuing tenders for each service needed, Dalli’s ministry selected providers through a system of quotations, with bills in some cases being much higher than should be allowed through such a process.
Dalli’s ministry paid €35,000 to Alan Desira of Twighlight to put up Christmas lights and a sound system, while another €35,000 was paid to Daniel Caruana’s SD Concept for more lighting decorations.
Clinton Attard of Yuva Art and Design was paid €8,400 for “marketing deliverables”, including promotion of the event, while Mushroom and Mushroom provided animators at a cost of almost €10,000.
Onsite management by Christian Schembri cost taxpayers another €9,000, while Labour’s mass events organisers, TEC, owned by Carmelo Magro, was selected to supply wooden gazebos for another €6,000.
Other payments issued without a tender included “production and coordination during the event”, which saw €7,000 paid to Tiziana Calleja of Centre Stage Malta, “artwork and design” from Studio White at €7,000, animators from TEB08 costing €10,000 and more decorations from Erika Dingli at €6,000.
The Energy Minister, who has had a terrible summer due to the repetitive failure of Malta’s electricity grid, has become known for events aimed at promoting herself.
Through Project Green, a new agency used by Dalli’s favoured MEP candidate, Steve Ellul, for his personal promotion, hundreds of thousands of euros are being spent on promotional activities nationwide. It includes top singer Ira Losco, recruited to use her social media platforms to boost political campaigns ahead of the upcoming elections.