Report slams ‘illegal’ call issued by St Julian’s council

St Julian’s council call for €13 million project lacked transparency and was in breach of law, report shows.

The expression of interest issued by the St Julian's local council in July without a call for tenders, lacked transparency and was illegal, the Board of Local Governance has concluded.

The board's report shows that the project, including a community home for the elderly, a car park and new offices for the local council, was awarded to CareMalta within three working days and the council's architect acted as "judge, jury and executioner."

In August, following a report published by MaltaToday, Parliamentary Secretary for local governance Josè Herrera, ordered the department of local government to revoke the decision taken by the St Julian's local council to adjudicate a €13 million project without issuing a tender. 

The department only became aware the project was adjudicated after MaltaToday's report on Sunday 25 August, which revealed that the €13 million public private partnership project was awarded to construction magnate and PN donor Nazzareno Vassallo without a call for tenders.

The board's report shows that the process was "vitiated, lacking transparency and in breach of the law."

While noting that the St Julian's local council did not own the land and had no right to issue a call for land which was allocated to the department of elderly care in 2012, the board recommended that the process should start from scratch and respect procedures and regulations set by law.

Furthermore, the Board of Local Governance confirmed that competitors were not given the right to appeal against the decision of the St Julian's local council decision.

Herrera had ordered an investigation by the Board of Local Governance because the process was irregular since the procedure and the criteria established by the local council were not approved neither by the Lands Department nor by the Department for Local Governance.

On 21 July, the St Julian's council published a small, inconspicuous advert in local newspapers in which it issued an expression of interest (EOI) for a community home for the elderly, a car park and new offices for the local council.

In its report, the board identified a number of shortcomings, including the short period of time between the publication of the call and the deadline lasting just over two weeks. This was in breach of the local council procedures which stipulate that calls should be open for a minimum of one month.

The Board of Local Governance also chastised the St Julian's council for failing to publish the call in the EU gazette as required by law and entered into an agreement with a commercial entity without the minister's consent.

Apart from Nazzareno Vassallo's CareMalta, another two companies, Attard Brothers and JSGR Consortium submitted an application; however, in what seems like an arbitrary decision by the St Julian's local council, two out of the three applicants were disqualified from the process, leaving CareMalta as the sole bidder.

The two excluded companies were not given any explanation for their disqualification by the local council led by PN Mayor Peter Bonello and were also denied the opportunity to appeal this decision.

The report holds that the council call expired on 8 August and the project was adjudicated on 14 August, just three working days later.

The Board of Local Governance pointed out that the council failed to appoint a specialised committee to adjudicate the project but instead the council appointed its own architect, Stephen Farrugia, married to Mosta's PN mayor, Shirley Farrugia, to act as "judge, jury and executioner."  

The report concluded that this practice was unacceptable because it did not respect the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance.


illegal or not, St.Julians cannot afford any more development!! There are no green spaces, only one playground(under the regional road bridge), basically it cannot get more developed than it is already. What we need, in the area under discussion, is an open green area where us residents can enjoy a day in the open and our children can go for a run! If the St.Julians LC is set on developing the only area left in St.Julians it has no vision and will be responsible for the continued uglification of this small fishing village.
Issa dawk l-erba li s-soltu jitkazaw fit-TOM x'se jghidu? jew tal-PN kollox lecitu?
donnu l-Perit Farrugia ir ragel ta Dr shirly sindku tal Mosta li tiskrupla hafna bl-iskandli ta Sindku ta qabilha, Il Perit doonu jrid johodna lura fi zmien tad dlamijiet tal MEPA. Il perit jaf ben tajjeb ghax kien hemm.
No surprise for those of us who live in the locality. The local council takes care of the local council, the business interests of those close to them, and very little else.
Jisthu dawn in-nies ukoll! Min jaf x'hawdu meta kien hemm GOnziSimonPN 'imexxi': kienu izommu minuti?