Justice Minister Jonathan Attard is leasing his official ministerial car from a company owned by two businessmen who own another company, of which the minister was a board member until recently.
According to a list of direct orders handed out by Attard between January and June 2023, he is renting a high-end Volvo XC60 as his official vehicle at a rate of €35 a day from Gauci Automobiles, owned by Paul and Mark Gauci.
The five-year contract will cost taxpayers some €64,000 in total.
The contract was given through direct order, bypassing the tendering process and restricting competition.
Gauci Automobiles is owned by brothers, known in the business community as Tal-Gedida.
The Gaucis form part of Gardens Marina Ltd, which was given a lucrative concession by Transport Malta a few years ago, following a tender, to own and manage the Ta’ Xbiex Marina.
Before becoming a Labour Party MP in 2022, Attard served as their company’s board secretary when it was pushing for a planning authority permit to allow Transport Malta to build a capitanerie and restaurant adjacent to the marina.
Despite a raft of objections, mainly from Gzira residents, the planning authority gave its blessing to the development that Transport Malta will finance.
Transport Malta and the transport ministry have failed to explain why the government is footing the cost of all construction, but the buildings will be passed on to the company owned by the Gaucis.
Attard, a former Labour TV reporter, became close to the Gaucis when he worked as communications coordinator for former minister Chris Cardona.
During the electoral campaign, Cardona always ran in the Birkirkara constituency and depended on the support of the Gaucis, who are from the locality.
When Cardona and Attard were at the economy ministry, a car showroom owned by the Gaucis in Birkirkara was converted into offices and leased out to INDIS Malta – the government agency responsible for industrial parks – for tens of thousands of euro a year.