€600 million incinerator contract review board faces second challenge after members refuse recusal

Aqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti.

A member of the Wasteserv evaluating committee, which “irregularly” awarded a €600 million contract for a new incinerator plant at Magħtab, also sat on the Public Contracts Review Board, part of which is currently reviewing the legitimacy of the “compromised” contract, in another challenge to the contract on Wednesday.

During a board hearing, it was revealed that Stefanie Scicluna Laiviera formed part of the contract review board while also sitting on the government-appointed evaluation committee which awarded the contract.

While Laiviera does not form part of the downsized four-person board that took part in Wednesday’s proceedings, she is one of six members that comprise the PCRB in its entirety.

Two other members of the Board, Chairman Kenneth Swain and board member Vincent Micallef refused to recuse themselves over claims of conflict of interest by appellant Hitachi Zosen, who initiated the case.

The €600 million tender for an incinerator facility at Magħtab was awarded through the Department of Contracts after “mistakenly” divulging sensitive financial information about the bidders while negotiations were ongoing.

The French Paprec Energies consortium, in which Bonnici Group has a 40% stake, secured the recommended bidder status for the construction and operation of the plant for 20 years, beating two other final bidders.

Following an initial application calling for Swain and Micallef’s recusal on claims of conflict of interest, a second urgent application submitted by Hitachi on Wednesday afternoon requested the submission of a grievance to the board about Laiveira’s concurrent positions.

The request was accepted by the PCRB, with the grievance and subsequent replies expected to be filed by Thursday.

Commenting on Hitachi’s grievance request submitted through lawyers Adrian Delia and Matthew Dalli Paris, Wasteserv legal council Antoine Cremona likened Laiviera’s position to that of judges in court proceedings, saying “a judge steps down from the case but does not stop being a judge”.

Cremona compared the tendering process, deemed “irregular” by Hitachi, to a football match “where some players win and some lose,” calling the process “wholesome”.

Bonnici Group has no experience in the complex incineration business. Its managing director, Gilbert Bonnici, was Prime Minister Robert Abela’s business partner in an Iklin construction development project.

The Group was also a client of Abela’s private legal office and has received millions of euros in direct orders.

PCRB proceedings are ongoing, with the second sitting set for Friday.

                           

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3 Comments
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Joseph AirAdami
Joseph AirAdami
3 months ago

Will the proposed costly project serve to destroy any sort of other ‘waste’ beyond the objections now put forward, and will it also serve for other ‘benefits’ to whomsoever is involved?

Emmanuel
Emmanuel
3 months ago

Nobody may be judge in one’s own cause ( Nemo judex in causa sua’. Natural justice rnot only requires that the principle be observed but that it be manifestly seen to be observed .

D M Briffa
D M Briffa
3 months ago

Thank you, The Shift, for your tireless efforts in reporting these stories. If anyone reading this doesn’t already support The Shift with regular financial donations, what kind of a person are you?

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