Right of reply on Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools

Saviour Balzan reported in his defamatory article information had been disclosed by an informant who is evidently Janice Spiteri, who has on numerous occasions placed offers in reply to call for tenders, in the name of Immagine Casa Limited

Reference is made to the various reports following an article carried in the newspaper MaltaToday on 4 December, 2016 and particularly to allegations made with regard to Sandro Ciliberti, his companies and his business activities.

Saviour Balzan reported in his defamatory article that this information had been disclosed to the newspaper by an informant, whose identity both the journalist and the newspaper have to date failed to disclose. It is evident to Mr Ciliberti that MediaToday’s informant is Janice Spiteri, who has on numerous occasions placed offers in reply to call for tenders, in the name of Immagine Casa Limited.

Mr Ciliberti has no hesitation to publicly declare that around the beginning of April 2015, Ms Spiteri visited the offices of Al Nibras for Science & Technology unannounced and requested to speak with Mr Ciliberti. At the time Ms Spiteri, much to Mr Ciliberti’s surprise, claimed to have been referred to Sandro Ciliberti by Edward Caruana of the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools. During this meeting Mr Ciliberti demonstrated catalogues of the Italian company Camillo Sirlanni srl and by email on 6 April, 2015, forwarded to Ms Spiteri the details of Francesco Sirianni. It is to be stated that since Ms Spiteri had requested a quotation from Al Nibras for Science and Technology Limited, Camillo Sirianni srl had relayed an offer directly addressed to Ms Spiteri through Mr Ciliberti. This was the only occasion that Mr Ciliberti met Ms Spiteri in person, and no further similar unsolicited meetings were held with any third parties.

• Sandro Ciliberti and/or his companies have not been appointed exclusive agents for Malta by the Italian furniture manufacturer Camillo Sirianni srl. Local competitors of Al Nibras have submitted and were successful in a number of tenders issued by FTS utilizing products produced by Camillo Sirianni srl. Mr Ciliberti is aware that despite the fact that Camillo Sirianni srl has requested MaltaToday to publish a right of reply in terms of the Press Act, in which these facts were declared, MaltaToday has, in breach of the provisions of the said Act, failed to date to publish such clarifications.

• The specifications carried in the FTS tender documents do not refer to a “certificate of design” as reported but rather to applicable European standards and standards “issued and/or endorsed by the Malta Standards Authority.” In addition, the images published in the call for tender documents are clearly for illustration purposes and are not those produced by nor originate from Camillo Sirianni srl.

• The FTS include items of furniture and equipment which are not within the manufacturing capabilities of Camillo Sirianni srl. The furniture specifications published by FTS have been unaltered for over 10 years. Al Nibras has only been awarded tenders published by FTS over the past four years.

• Sandro Ciliberti and Al Nibras have not been awarded any direct orders by FTS.

• Al Nibras, having been the cheapest and technically compliant bidder in a number of tenders, was not hand-delivered any cheques by Edward Caruana. All payments due to Al Nibras and Hangman Limited by the Foundation were collected from the FTS premises against a signature on a record book retained by the Foundation for the purpose.

• The reports make allegations of contact being made with minister Evarist Bartolo by the informant Immagine Casa, which has submitted various offers with reply to FTS calls. Al Nibras or Sandro Ciliberti have on no occasion approached the minister in connection with any tender but pursued legal means when aggrieved with the decision of the FTS or other institutions issuing a call for tender.

• The quantity of items delivered to the Foundation was in accordance with quantities indicated in the FTS call for tenders. Any alleged excessive quantities requested by the Foundation was not based on a decision of Al Nibras or Sandro Ciliberti or one influenced by them.

• Despite allegations of police investigations underway, which are clearly being instigated by MaltaToday, Sandro Ciliberti and Al Nibras or Hangman have not been contacted by the Malta police on the matter to date. Further to reports carried in the MaltaToday relating to an explosive device placed outside Mr Ciliberti’s residence, he has himself requested the police to investigate this criminal act in the light of the allegations of impropriety reported by MaltaToday.

• Calls for tenders, tender documents and related information are published by the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools on its website which is accessible to the public. Contrary to allegations carried in MaltaToday the cheapest offers were not always made by Al Nibras.

• The limited liability company Hangman is not defunct as reported in MaltaToday. Hangman has changed its name to Cominology Limited to better accommodate its core business to which reference has been made in various reports.

Dr Marco Ciliberti, City Consult

The religious happiness myth

MaltaToday recently conducted a survey on whether religion makes people happy. This is a myth that is perpetuated by religious people themselves. 

In everyday life, there are priests with nervous breakdowns, and lay Catholics who are depressed, despite their religious beliefs. In newspapers, we read about the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that take place in Maltese homes – all of which indicate that there is a lot of unhappiness in Catholic Malta.

In religious books, you’ll come across guilt-ridden authors who are obsessed with sin, hell fire, and eternal damnation. You can read about depressed Catholic "mystics” and their “dark night of the soul”. You’ll witness celibate monks flogging themselves in their lonely cells to suppress their natural impulses. You’ll encounter "saints” with morbid minds, such as Luigi Gonzaga, who did not like to be alone with his mother, for fear that he would have “impure” thoughts. 

Among contemporary “saints” you can read about Mother Teresa, whose  private letters reveal that her inner life was in turmoil, and that she struggled for a long time with religious doubts. In her anguish, she drifted from one “spiritual director” to another – just like a lost soul. Her smile, she wrote, was ‘a mask’.

The intensely religious Blaise Pascal said that “the God of the Christians is a God who makes them aware of their wretchedness”. This wretchedness is inculcated in the minds of Catholics by the “shepherds” of Christ, who keep their docile “flock” under control by constantly reminding them that they are “sinners”. 

It was for such reasons that the French aristocrat Seigneur de Saint Evremond described Christianity as gloomy and hostile to life. Nietzsche observed that “the Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.”

John Guillaumier, St Julian’s