The two-day Med9 summit, bringing together the leaders of European countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea to discuss regional issues, saw some €250,000 handed out to events organisers close to the ruling Labour Party.
The two-day summit saw European leaders and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen descend on Malta, with Prime Minister Robert Abela positioning himself as a mediator in the ongoing migration issue troubling the region.
A detailed bill worth a quarter of a million euros was presented to parliament, showing that much of the money was handed out to event organisers involved in Labour’s mass rallies during their electoral campaign.
Services were procured through direct orders from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with no competition between other providers.
Following a request from Nationalist Party MP Karol Aquilina, the information provided shows that €50,000 was paid to Raymond Vella & Co Ltd (RVC) for the provision of power, a marquee used for a 30-minute press conference in Mdina’s main square, platforms and other related items.
Vella is Labour’s preferred service provider for similar services at their political events.
ICan, a company owned by Keith Chetcuti, the former CEO of Keith Schembri’s Kasco, was paid €48,000 for security screening equipment, on-site furniture and translation services, among others, while Ikona Artworks, usually tasked to take care of all Labour’s media adverts was paid €27,000 for the summit’s ‘branding’.
Other costs in the final summit bill indicate that the OPM spared no costs to impress Abela’s guests.
Kurt Micallef was paid over €4,000 for flower arrangements, while James Caterers & Ancillary Ltd was paid €1,500 for the prime minister’s gala dinner for ten people and another €2,000 for brunch.
Besteam Audio, which provides Labour with mass meeting sound systems, got €5,000 for providing the same for the summit while leasing vehicles from Forte cost €18,000.
Luke Cassar, put on various direct orders for ‘media services’ by various government ministries, was also hired to provide “logistics and support”, making €4,720 over two days.
In addition to the handful of preferred companies, the Metropolitan Cathedral Chapter, which owns Palazzo Depiro in Mdina, the venue for the short meeting, received €14,455.
At the end of the summit, Presided by Abela, the nine leaders issued a final declaration calling for a “significant increase” in the EU efforts to tackle migration at its roots and in transit countries.