Transport Malta RHIBs tender evaluated in just one day

Just one official involved in the entire process


A 2020 tender issued by Transport Malta to purchase five rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) was evaluated and awarded in just one day, according to a National Audit Office (NAO) report, confirming The Shift’s flagging of the irregular deal.

New documents made available to the NAO show that the whole process used to buy some €800,000 worth of RHIBs was entrusted to just one unnamed official, who wrote the tender specifications, issued the call, evaluated the bids, and decided on who was to be awarded the lucrative tender.

The same unnamed official was also responsible for ensuring that inspections were carried out during the production process of the RHIBs, something which, according to the NAO, was never done.

The unnamed official managed to “evaluate” one of the two tenders issued worth almost half a million euros under 24 hours from closing the bid without even convening the evaluation committee, immediately raising a red flag for the NAO.

“The opening session for tender CTF2011/2020 was held on 7 May 2020, while the evaluation report was dated the day after, implying that the 13 offers submitted were administratively, technically, and financially analysed in one day,” the NAO said.

“This raises serious concerns about the quality of assessments carried out, if any,” the NAO added.

The other tender, as the five RHIBs were bought through two different tenders, was also assessed and evaluated by the same unnamed official, who awarded the tender to the same supplier.

While noting that no market research had been conducted before the official wrote the tender’s specifications, he dismissed a suggestion that the “winning bidder’s” prices were too low when compared to the other bids.

“Although this fact was brought to the attention of the Chairman (the same unnamed official) by the Evaluation Committee’s secretary, the former failed to duly examine this red flag and still considered the bids to be reasonable and acceptable,” claiming that the market for RHIBs was very volatile and affected by seasonal demands.

The Shift contacted Transport Malta to ask what action would be taken against Patrick Pollacco, the maritime enforcement director supposedly responsible for overseeing such processes, but no response was received.


Patrick Pollacco – Director Maritime Enforcement TM

Confirming The Shift’s revelations, the NAO found that just a few weeks after the delivery of the RHIBs, a surveyor report immediately indicated structural faults. In the case of at least two of the brand-new boats, these defects were so severe that the RHIBs were declared unseaworthy.

According to the NAO, in November 2022, the then-Transport Malta CEO, Jeffrey Curmi and the supplier discussed the issue and agreed that the supplier would be given the right to attempt repairs.

The Transport Malta board was only informed of this decision after signing the agreement.

No payments were made for the RHIBs, the NAO audit concluded.

Ian Borg announcing the investment in 2020.

The tenders were issued when Ian Borg was the minister responsible for Transport Malta. The winning bidder is based in Rabat, the minister’s district.

Following The Shift’s reports, accompanied by evidence published by independent candidate Arnold Cassola, the Nationalist Party opposition called for an investigation into this case and for Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia to act.

It is not known what action has been taken so far or if the police have been notified.


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2 months ago

these divide the money among themselves… and to keep the people quiet they leave crumbs, now not even that given that the elections are approaching…

2 months ago

Is there one decent proper deal where the people’s money did not go down the drain? Will we find out sooner or later into which drain pipe all the money which vanished has landed in.?

Pony Express
Pony Express
2 months ago

Most probably the tender document was written with the winners manufacturer manual in hand.

2 months ago

This government has a perfected procedure for conducting fraudulent contracts, tested and approved by a certain Joseph Muscat. We still miss the Public Transport Secret Contract with Autobuses de Leon is suspect also.

Anne R. key
Anne R. key
2 months ago

The original tendering committee was dismissed because, serious concerns were being raised! The Polish Director and buddies high up in the food chain decided to act otherwise and the result is what we (the tax payer) has been lumped with. Only jail time can justify this Machiavellian behaviour 🙁

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