TM withholds payments of €1 million RHIBs

Transport Malta is withholding almost €1 million in payments related to purchasing five brand-new RHIBs (rigid hull inflatable boats) for its maritime enforcement section, which had to be beached less than a year after their launch due to structural problems.

The RHIBs were acquired under the remit of former minister Ian Borg through two deals in 2022. Aaron Farrugia, now responsible for the issue, told parliament that the government has still not paid for them.

Following revelations by The Shift, Nationalist Party MP Rebekah Borg pressed Farrugia on the issue in parliament. He admitted that the five defective boats were bought in 2020 at €170,000 each, or €851,000 in total.

Farrugia did not explain why Transport Malta accepted the vessels, although it was known they were not up to the required specifications of the tender. He just confirmed that no payments had been made so far.

A Freedom of Information request on the matter filed by The Shift was ignored by Farrugia and Transport Malta CEO Jonathan Borg.

Under normal circumstances, such purchases are covered with a two to five-year warranty, but Transport Malta has not returned the boats to the supplier. The Shift was also informed that Transport Malta had not initiated any legal action regarding the vessels.

Sources at Transport Malta told The Shift the boats were supplied by an agent based in Rabat, Borg’s constituency, at the time of the 2020 tender. This cannot be confirmed due to the minister’s refusal to answer questions.

The problems with the RHIBs started from day one, with Transport Malta employees complaining they were not up to standard.

An expert report drawn up by a surveyor after inspecting the five ‘new’ boats found significant problems. Structural damage was found on two of the boats, which rendered them unusable, while the other three also developed significant defects.

The five ‘new’ RHIBs were bought through two different tenders issued in 2020.

                           

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9 Comments
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Joseph AirAdami
Joseph AirAdami
3 months ago

At long last.

Someone has sensibly decided to put his foot down in an attempt to safeguard public money.

A very rare indeed occurrence in our times!

Greed
Greed
2 months ago

Yes if it’s true?

Francis Said
Francis Said
3 months ago

To quote one former super minister and MP of the Republic of Malta.
Not fit for purpose. I wonder whoever approved these is still enjoying all the salary and perks paid by taxpayers’ funds.
Not paying for these is not a legal solution. The supplier and anyone involved in the purchase of these should face Court procedures, pronto.

Greed
Greed
2 months ago
Reply to  Francis Said

Not fit for purpose,maybe Noddy bought them as he is the as the good as the defective boats?

paul pullicino
paul pullicino
3 months ago

Defective goods have not been returned? This does not make sense.

Mick
Mick
2 months ago
Reply to  paul pullicino

Like most things in this Dystopian existence.

Charles
Charles
3 months ago

Gvern korrott li jibqa jahbi n nuqqasijiet tieghu u s serq ta’ flus il.poplu.

Joe Caruana
Joe Caruana
2 months ago

I don’t believe that he won’t get paid or if he really don’t get paid he will be reimbursed in another way.

Pierre Micallef
Pierre Micallef
2 months ago

I doubt this is the truth…can the minister’s statement be verified? Logically, it doesn’t make any sense to remain in a stalemate so long … If I were the supplier , I would definitely have put up a strong defensive case by this time.. either repair under warranty and get my money or get the boats back to recuperate some of my losses… This empasse does not sell…

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