WasteServ issues bizarre statement on court drubbing over €600m incinerator

CEO calls still to be adjudicated bidder “losing consortium”.

 

The government entity responsible for waste management has issued a bizarre statement contradicting last week’s court decision and calling one of the bidders still to be re-assessed “a losing consortium.”

The statement comes after the Court of Appeals concluded that WasteServ conducted a tainted procurement process to award a massive €600 million incinerator contract.

Contradicting Malta’s highest court’s decision, CEO Richard Bilocca falsely stated that the Court “did not take issue with the procedure adopted by WasteServ to rank bidders.”

In its preliminary assessment, the Court found that WasteServ had already tainted the procurement process before the selection stage when it appointed people with conflicts of interest to its evaluation committee.

The Court annulled the entire evaluation process, including the ranking system Bilocca refers to in his public statement.

In his remarks about the Court’s decision, Bilocca condemned the media for “deliberately misconstruing the court decision so that they can cast WasteServ in a bad light”.

Bilocca also called the Hitachi-Terna consortium, which won the court challenge, “the losing consortium – with an offer that would have cost taxpayers €200 million more”.

In its decision last Friday, following a long-drawn-out challenge by Hitachi-Terna, the Court found that WasteServ undertook a flawed evaluation of the incinerator’s tendering process by putting Stephanie Scicluna Laiviera on its committee. Scicluna Laiviera was also a substitute on the board that eventually had to review the work of the evaluation committee.

Apart from her job at WasteServ, Scicluna Laiviera was also an assistant to Labour MEP Alfred Sant.

The Court said that through this process and under Bilocca’s direction, WasteServ tainted the whole evaluation process and nullified the selection exercise.

Additionally, the Court found that two members of the Public Contracts Review Board (PCRB), who dismissed Hitachi-Terna’s objections to WasteServ’s decision, also had a conflict of interest.

The Court found that Chairman Kenneth Swain, who owns a private auditing firm, was also a board director of several government entities, including Enemalta, which had a direct interest in the tender.

Kenneth Swain (left) and Vince Micallef (right).

Lawyer and Labour activist Vince Micallef, another PCRB adjudicator, also holds many other government appointments.

Since the conflicts of interest found by the Court had already rendered WasteServ’s evaluation process null and void, the Court didn’t examine the other claimed infringements by Hitachi-Terna further, including the claim that preliminary bids were published before the closing of the tender and that Bonnici Brothers had submitted a low but economically unfeasible bid.

Tainted from the start

WasteServ issued the process for the commissioning of Malta’s first waste-to-energy incinerator—already several years late—and awarded it to a consortium made up of French company Paperac and Bonnici Brothers, a road construction company with no experience in the sector.

Bonnici Brothers was the only Maltese shareholder to submit an offer. The local company is known to be closely connected to Prime Minister Robert Abela, who has served as their lawyer and was in business with Gilbert Bonnici – the managing director, in real estate development.

In recent years, Robert Abela’s government has given the Bonnici Brothers tens of millions in direct orders and tenders.

During the WasteServ tendering process, several consortia cried foul, as sensitive data was published before the end of the process, which raised questions on whether the tender had been compromised.

Instead of re-issuing the tender, the government proceeded to award the tender to the Paperac-Bonnici Brothers.

What happens now?

Procurement experts told The Shift that, according to the Court’s order, the government can now either choose to annul the whole process and issue a new tender or set up a new evaluation committee by WasteServ through which a new evaluation exercise of the current bids is conducted.

None of the original Tender Evaluation Committee members can sit on the new one.

The government may still award the tender to Bonnici Brothers consortium through this process. This risks further delaying the process as it will again open the possibility of a new appeals process by the other bidders.

Procurement experts told The Shift that Bilocca’s bizarre and untimely statement against the Hitachi-Terna consortium may have already prejudiced the new evaluation process, which has yet to start.

                           

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6 Comments
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wenzu
wenzu
21 days ago

Bilocca and Dalli- a pair of utterly useless incompetents. Perfectly normal by MLP standards.

Last edited 21 days ago by wenzu
Mark
Mark
20 days ago
Reply to  wenzu

The bribes have already been collected and what do we do now? with a judge’s sentence? oh oh oh

joe tedesco
joe tedesco
21 days ago

THE PL GOVERNMENT HAS DELIBERATELY DESTROYED
ALL TRUST IN ITS ENTITIES AND INSTITUTIONS.

S. Camilleri
S. Camilleri
21 days ago

“WasteServ issues bizarre statement…” Only if you expected an intelligent one. The intelligent thing to do would have been to keep silent.

makjavel
makjavel
21 days ago

Having a look at the technical details of the incineration plant equipment and safety sensors , one can easily see the reason for the difference in the offers.
It is not a question of cost , it is a question of the engineering and safety standards the incinerator is built to. We cannot have a CHEAP and CHEERFUL incinerator.
What is the competence of the board members in selecting the BEST , in the interest of the Nations Health not the pocket of the anonymous?

Carmelo borg
21 days ago

Bilocca wasal is Sajf nispera li bdejt titfa iz zibel li kont tajt parir fil fridge.
Bilocca trid tibni cooling store kbir biex titfa IZ ZIBEL TA MADWAREK GHAX ILU JINTENN

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