Right of reply: Campus Hub audit

University of Malta right of reply to MaltaToday story ‘Campus Hub audit: ‘Serious doubts’ on tender process fairness’

File photo
File photo

Reference is made to the Sunday, 23 April edition of MaltaToday (‘Serious doubts’ on tender process fairness). Unfortunately, this article fails to present the readers with a fair rendition of the NAO report on the Campus Hub, quoting phrases out of context thus sacrificing truth on the altar of sensationalism.  

The reference to the lack of consultation with FMS is a case in point. The article quoted the statement in paragraph 4.3.6 but for some reason totally ignores the facts listed in subsequent paragraphs 4.3.8 and 4.3.11, namely that way back in 2011, University had envisaged the space shortage at Mater Dei and had proposed a solution which solution was an integral part of its Master Plan. 

The article’s heading tries to shed doubts on the award process by picking up on the NAO observation that the change of plans following the award could have favoured the chosen bidder against other potential bidders. 

Unfortunately, the article fails to quote other sections of the report which clearly stated that such changes were either the result of changes requested to the plans by the Planning Authority (which changes were allowed under the RfP (Request for Proposal) and thus could be availed of by any bidder) or changes in the location of services within the complex as highlighted in table 15 of the report.  

Furthermore, whilst quoting the NAO observations regarding what could have been done better, te article perniciously fails to quote the fact stated in paragraphs 4.8.27 and 4.8.28, and summarised in Table 19, namely that the concession option chosen by the University renders a significantly higher return than if the University had undertaken to implement the project itself (which was the only other option). 

The calculations drawn up by NAO are tangible proof that this project renders one of the highest returns per square metre, for any such Design, Build and Operate project implemented by any local public entity.