Former Mimcol CEO cleared of bribery in shipyards deal

Mario Mizzi had been charged in January 2012 with demanding a bribe in return for favourable consideration in a tender process dating back to 2010.

Former Mimcol CEO Mario Mizzi was found not guilty of soliciting a bribe
Former Mimcol CEO Mario Mizzi was found not guilty of soliciting a bribe

The former Mimcol CEO Mario Mizzi has been cleared of bribery in the privatisation of the shipyards.

Mizzi had been charged in January 2012 with demanding a bribe in return for favourable consideration in a tender process dating back to 2010.

The call for tenders was issued as part of the former government’s plan to privatise the shipyards.
For the sale, it had been split into four separate entities, including a designated area dealing with the repair of superyachts.

During the process, Paul Cardona, a representative of one of the bidders for a superyacht facility - SYC Limited representatives - claimed Mizzi had approached him and said “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours,” which he understood to be a request for a bribe.

SYC Limited was one of two companies which made it to the final stage of the tendering process. But it was subsequently downgraded and effectively eliminated from the bidding process, after Mizzi had spoken to a foreign technical consultant, Sue Hall, it was claimed.

Hall, a government technical consultant, had drawn up a report about the bidders in which percentage points were awarded according to their technical competence.

SYC, which had partnered with a French firm called Couach, was awarded 71%. A later re-evaluation saw this go down to 50% and later 48%, however.

Deciding the case, Magistrate Doreen Clarke concluded that Mizzi had not been offering a bribe but had been showing his appreciation towards an offer by Cardona, who had said that he would let him know of any work opportunities.

At the time the statement was made, the court noted, Mizzi could not have known what Cardona’s involvement as a bidder was going to be, so his statement could not have been linked to the privatisation.

With regards to the downgrading of the company’s bid, the magistrate observed that the re-evaluation of SYC’s technical bid had been in reaction to problems Couach had found itself in and had been made following legal advice.

The accused had not been alone in this process but had been in continuous consultation with other people, including at times, the minister.

Lawyer Joe Giglio appeared for the accused.

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