Mintoff statue sculptor has compensation slashed to €100,000 for unpaid fees

Architect Valerio Schembri had won €800,000 in damages but an appeals court cut down compensation to €100,000 for unpaid fees

Valerio Schembri
Valerio Schembri

The Court of Appeal has slashed €800,000 in fees due to an architect for unused plans for the relocation of the Oncology Department from Boffa Hospital to Zammit Clapp hospital, to €100,000 in compensation.

The Director of Health had filed an appeal to a 2012 judgment from the First Hall of the Civil Court, which had upheld a claim filed by AIC Valerio Schembri in his personal capacity and on behalf of Valerio Schembri Project Workshop Ltd, over contractual fees that had remained unpaid by the authorities.

Valerio Schembri is the sculptor of both the Dom Mintoff monument, and the Flame monument recently erected outside Castille square.

In October 2012, that court had ordered the defendant to pay Schembri €804,119.88, representing his fees at 4% of the certified works.

In its decision, the court of appeal, with Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri and judges Giannino Caruana Demajo and Noel Cuschieri presiding, noted that Schembri’s architectural firm had won the tender for the contract in October 2003.

The two-year contract was renewed in November 2005 and extended up to January 2006.

But in September 2006, Schembri had received a letter from the Director of Health, thanking him for his service whilst informing him that the contract had been awarded to another bidder for the next two years.

As the project was never realised, the 4% payment rate Schembri was due for the certified works was to be reduced to 2.67%, which affected the bills of quantities, structural calculations and applications for permits.

The court upheld the appeal filed by the Director of Health in part, reducing Schembri’s fees from €804,119.88 to €103,522 for the works performed. A further award of €2,000 was ordered by the court for the expenses related to copies of plans.