Company deems Contracts Department ban ‘obscene and unconstitutional’

Gafa' Saveways demand a warrant to stop the enforcement of a decision taken by the Contracts Department, which they claim is based on an unconstitutional judgement.

A company barred from bidding for public contracts have described the decision of the Contracts Department as “an obscenity”, claiming that it was based on an unfair and unconstitutional judgment.

Earlier this year, the Contracts Department barred Gafa Safeway from bidding for public contracts for two years after allegedly breaching laws against precarious employment.

The decision was taken after a criminal court presided by Magistrate Carol Peralta had handed the company’s three directors a reprimand and an admonition over claims that they had not paid their employees for working extra hours.

However, the company directors, Antonia, Paulette and Dominic Gafa, argued that they were not present for the decree, and rather than issuing an arrest warrant, the court delivered a judgment ‘in abstentia’ – an unfair and unconstitutional judgment according to the company directors.

Representing the company, lawyer Edward Gatt argued how he intended to appeal the Contracts Department’s decision and file a constitutional application challenging the criminal court’s judgment.

In the meantime, Gatt explained, that the company intends on requesting a warrant of prohibitory injunction to stop the enforcement of the Department’s decision.

However, Christian Falzon Scerri, from the Attorney General's office, replied that the decision had been sent to all the Civil Service and could not be repealed.

In addition, he argued that the Constitutional Court is not the place where criminal cases are appealed and that prior to appealing the criminal court’s decision before the Constitutional Court, the company “failed to challenge the magistrate’s decision in the right fora.”

Judge JR Micallef postponed the case for early next week when a decision will be taken ‘in camera’.

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