A local consultancy firm has filed a complaint over the awarding of an Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) tender to a company co-owned by Labour pollster Vince Marmara and Acting President of Malta Frank Bezzina.
In an objection filed at the Public Contracts Review Board (PCRB), EMCS Advisory Ltd claims the €980,000 tender was awarded without transparency, objectivity and equality of treatment.
They claim this resulted in a decision favouring Marmara’s company, Powered Knowledge and two other companies.
Through their lawyers, Dingli & Dingli, the consultancy firm asked PCRB to cancel the tender and declare the decision to recommend Powered Knowledge as the winner of a €300,000 share “illegal and unlawful”.
The firm also insists that if the tender is not cancelled altogether, part of the tender should at least be given to them and not to Marmara’s firm.
EMCS claim their offer is far superior to that of Powered Knowledge.
The tender concerns the provision of “mystery shopping services to the public administration” and was divided into three separate lots.
Financed by EU funds, the Department of Contracts decided to split the proceeds of the tender among PWC, Idea Advisory Services Ltd owned by former MCAST principal Silvio Debono, and Marmara’s Powered Knowledge.
With Bezzina, Marmara has already been paid more than €600,000 for a similar ‘mystery shopping’ exercise awarded to him by the OPM.
Last year, The Shift reported that, in 2019, the Marmara-Bezzina tandem was paid an additional €152,000 in addition to the amount allocated in the tender, which they won because their bid was the lowest.
At the end of the mystery shopping exercise, Marmara and Bezzina received a total of €605,000, an increase of 33% from the original bid.
Marmara has not divulged who finances his polls for the Labour Party and it-Torċa.
Besides their private business ventures, Bezzina and Marmara are full-time lecturers at the University of Malta.