Evans Building concession faces second objection from developer Paul Attard

Latest objection filed through PM’s associate Ryan Pace


A second objection was filed in front of the Public Contracts Review Board (PCRB) over the controversial decision to award a concession to turn the Evans Building into a luxury hotel to bidders who objectors say do not even qualify to be considered.

Katari Hospitality’s Paul Attard, the second in command at the influential  Malta Developers Association and known for his proximity to Prime Minister Robert Abela and members of his private secretariat, has asked the PCRB to annul the decision and hand the concession to his company instead.

His objection was filed by lawyer Ryan Pace, the prime minister’s former associate at his legal firm, Abela Advocates, and a close associate who has received multiple government appointments in recent years.

Pace accused the OPM’s agency handling the concession –  Malta Strategic Partnership Projects Ltd –  better known as Projects Malta, of wrongly interpreting the rules of the tender “as if it did everything possible” to ensure the concession was awarded to the consortium of the Decesares of the Eden Leisure Group and Mark Weingard of Iniala hotel.

Expressing serious doubts about the way the OPM-selected evaluation board made its selection, Pace called the decision “illogical” and a “conjecture”  aimed at pushing forward the preferred bidder’s interests.

Ryan Pace and Robert Abela

Identical to the first objection filed by another consortium – Iconic Hotel Malta – Nobu – spearheaded by seasoned entrepreneur Michael Bianchi, Katari Hospitality said that the total financial bid of the ‘winning’ bidder at €1.2 million, published by the contracting authority itself, was the lowest offer made.

Katari Hospitality, which made an offer of €41 million, argued that the OPM agency should have disqualified the Decesare/Weingard consortium as it did not qualify for the concession.

Instead, Pace accused the OPM agency of giving the bid a different interpretation allowing it to be put it in front of all the other bidders who observed the tender’s rules.

Department of Contracts notice of how the bids were classified.

While Katari’s objection is now expected to be heard by the PCRB, the same objector’s bid is also being challenged.

In their objection request, apart from attacking the OPM’s decision, Iconic Hotel Malta – Nobu also asked the PCRB to disqualify Paul Attard’s Katari Hospitality due to “gross irregularities” and potential “collusion”.

Referring to “inexplicable extensions” to the closing date of the tender’s submissions, the consortium said that it was established that during these extensions, Katari Hospitality “changed its financial statements by filing last-minute amendments to its financial entries, enabling it to turn its non-compliant” financial bid into an acceptable one.

According to Iconic Hotel Malta – Nobu, this indicated a “vitiated process” for which the OPM’s adjudication committee is responsible.

Launched in 2022, the Evans Building tender immediately resulted in being ‘problematic’ as before it was issued, as it was rumoured the prime minister favoured the Decesares.

When the bids were opened, it emerged that the Decesare/Weingard consortium filed a bid lower than what was allowed in the tender document.

Instead of disqualifying their bid, the OPM selected evaluation committee announced them as the ‘winners’.

The Shift reported that the prime minister was warned that the evaluation committee’s decision would be challenged all the way.

This has now resulted in two objections, potentially derailing the project for years until the PSCB and possibly the Court of Appeals rule on the challenges.


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Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
2 months ago

Now we all understand better why this University Professor who is in a self-ridicule mode, and flying so low, is actually involving himself in procurement processes. This guy should be investigated by the Police to trace his financial movements. Likewise, he should be investigated by the University of Malta to look into his involvement in public finances. Simply, I cannot understand the involvement of an Academic in Government’s procurement processes. Very fishy indeed.

2 months ago

Malta doesn’t need yet another hotel, however it desperately needs a building to house more courtrooms and supporting offices.
But if this logic had been followed there wouldn’t be any chance of the usual few making a bit under the table.
So let’s favour a friend by gifting him this property and after that we will gift another friend when we lease some inadequate property for courtrooms.

Toni Borg
Toni Borg
2 months ago

Poor Paul, he missed out on this deal, as if the donation of public land in Mellieha was not enough!!!

The pigs are now competing amongst themselves!

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