Italians send in the hyenas to claim millions owed on parliament works

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat doorstepped by Le Iene reporter asking him to pay €3.4 million for marble works

One of Italy’s most watched TV programmes, Le Iene, dispatched its reporter to doorstep Prime Minister Joseph Muscat at the Hilton and question him over €3.4 million the government owes to Filiberti, a marble supplier who provided the Maltese parliament’s exterior cladding.

The company itself owes hundreds of thousands to Maltese companies it subcontracted in the construction of the Valletta parliament.

Muscat, dressed in black tie for an evening gala, was surprised at the intrusion as he parried with the Italian reporter who seemed less than impressed with claims that the Grand Harbour Regeneration Corporation was unhappy with delays created by Filiberti in finishing the works.

In 2011, CFF Filiberti Srl was tasked by the BIB Joint Venture, the main contractor responsible for the construction of the Renzo Piano parliament, with the cladding of the façade while Q-Stone Ltd was nominated supplier of the stone.

The GHRC says it will only pay Filiberti €500,000 for the works due to delays it caused.

Q-Stone Ltd is also owed some €31,571 by Filiberti and subject to court proceedings initiated by the Maltese company. 

And Ranger Ltd, a Maltese company says it has won a court order in Italy so that Filiberti pays it €150,000.
While the Italians won the tender under the name of CFF Filiberti, however they used another company, FDS, to subcontract work in Malta, Mifsud explained. 
In April 2014, the court of appeal in Bologna confirmed the recognition and enforceability of the Maltese court sentence ordering FDS to pay Ranger Ltd €107,000 and additional expenses. “The sum has now gone up to around €150,000 when taking into consideration interests and other legal expenses incurred,” Mifsud said.
His company, part of the Godwin’s Garage group, provided transport and machinery services to the Italian firm during the construction of the Parliament building.
Filiberti is claiming that it is facing bankruptcy unless tangible steps are taken to find a solution.
According to the FDS balance sheet approved on 30 April, 2015, the company made a profit of €5,693 in 2014 and its net assets stood at €122,876.
Refusal to pay

The GHRC does not have a contract with CFF Filiberti but with a consortium of companies (BIB JV) which also includes CFF Filiberti). “GHRC has received claims from BIB JV in relation to the said works and these have been evaluated by the Project Engineer (BOVIS),” the ministry had said.

“In the reports prepared by the project architects, this JV has not yet today performed all the scope of works and there are a number of items that have to be undertaken. Though slight progress has been registered, these items are still pending.”

Originally, the Italian contractor had complained of delays on the quality of the stone excavated from a Gozo quarry. Filiberti said one of the reasons for the delay was the continuous shortage of stone, which had to be quarried from a site in Ta’ Klement, Qala.

The material was then shipped in large blocks to the Parma plant where it was cut into thousands of different forms and shipped back to Malta. From a technical perspective, the job was challenging because the stone had to be cut into more than 13,000 different shapes and then shipped back to Malta in more than 400 trucks.

But Filiberti is claiming that it has suffered financially because it had to come up with numerous solutions at their own expense to mitigate the situation. “In reality, we ended up shipping more than 200 extra truckloads of stone to satisfy the client,” owner Alessandro said, who complained back in 2014 that the company had not received a single payment for 11 months.