The government has failed to answer questions on whether anyone will be held accountable for the work carried out on Paola Square that must be redone some six years later due to massive defects, despite costing taxpayers some €3 million.
Transport Minister Chris Bonnet announced that works to redo the main square of his constituency are about to start, but the agency responsible for ordering the work has refused to provide any information on how much it will cost or possible repercussions for those who carried out the initial work.
The Shift contacted Infrastructure Malta CEO Ivan Falzon to ask for information on the work to be carried out and whether legal proceedings have been started against those responsible. He was also asked how much the remedial works are expected to cost or whether the original contractors will cover the cost.
Falzon did not reply by the time of publication.
Announced in 2015 by the then-chairman of the Council of the South, Silvio Parnis, the project took three years to complete, creating significant inconvenience for businesses and residents in the area. The project was also controversial due to the removal of a number of large, old trees that lined the previous square.
Designed by Chris Mintoff, a former president of the Chamber of Architects, works were carried out by contractors Barbros Group and Schembri JV at a cost of over €2.3 million. This was a 21% increase over the original tender estimates.
Mintoff’s company, Building and Design Consultants, was paid to oversee the project’s implementation as project managers.
But so far, neither of the contractors has been held responsible for any wrongdoing, which included the wrong laying of porfido, rusty benches, unconnected lighting, unlit zebra crossings and empty wells underneath the square that were supposed to supply water to fountains.
Meanwhile, the new Transport Minister’s dig on social media at the late Silvio Parnis, who served the Paola district as Labour MP for many years and passed away last year, did not go down well with his supporters.
Minister Chris Bonett did not shy away from mentioning the shoddy works of his former parliamentary colleague who used to contest his same district.
One Labour supporter blasted “newcomer Bonett”, saying “it was not on to try to score cheap political points by criticising his former district rivals of the same party”.
Parnis did not contest the last elections after being ousted from cabinet by Prime Minister Robert Abela.