OPM awarded Content House €15,000 in contracts

Jesmond Bonello who sued MaltaToday for defamation after claiming he had benefited from direct orders awarded €15,000 in contracts by Office of Prime Minister under previous administration.

Jesmond Bonello
Jesmond Bonello

Jesmond Bonello, the former Times journalist turned PR man, benefitted from a €39,408 contract which was directly approved by the finance ministry in 2009, new documents tabled in Parliament show.

Yesterday, MaltaToday revealed that Bonello who sued MaltaToday for defamation after claiming he had benefited from government-dispensed contracts, was awarded around €600,000 in direct orders between 1998 and 2013 and in total some €1 million including public tenders, from various government ministries and entities.

Figures tabled in parliament this week show that the company, directed by former Times journalist Jesmond Bonello, was awarded a large number of contracts, mostly direct orders, from the majority of ministries under consecutive Nationalist administrations.

Fresh documents show that between 2009 and 2010, the Office of the Prime Minister directly approved five contracts for advertising and communication services rendered to the parliamentary secretariat for dialogue and information.

The contracts awarded directly by the OPM to Content House amount to over €15,000. Furthermore, between 2010 and 2012, the company was awarded two direct orders by the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) and another two direct orders by MUESAC. The total cost of these four direct orders reaches €9,000.   

A number of ministries, including the Prime Minister's office, have not yet tabled the list of direct orders awarded to Content House, and the global amount is set to rise once all ministries provide the information.

Bonello is suing MaltaToday for libel over questions and comments made by managing editor Saviour Balzan in his weekly column, where Balzan contended that the firm had benefited from direct orders.

Coincidentally, this week Balzan and MaltaToday.com.mt editor Matthew Vella received a court protest filed by Bonello in which the managing director of Content House accused the MaltaToday editors of a fishing expedition in trying to prove that the company benefited from direct orders.

So far, evidence given in court before the last election has not indicated the amount tabled in parliament this week. 

Bonello has also said in court, that government work does not represent the bulk of his company's revenue.

In court, also admitted that he had done some work for Air Malta, but could not remember who had given him the work and what it had amounted to.

Bonello also served as a director at Malta Enterprise, the government's investment promotion arm, between 2008 and 2013.

Among the direct orders awarded to Content House, the biggest contract amounted to €127,900. This direct order was issued by the government's IT agency, MITA, in 2011 for the provision of publicity services.

In 2008, the company was also awarded a €275,574 tender by MITA for the provision of advertising and communication services over a four-year period.

Content House also benefitted from 22 direct orders from Malta Enterprise itself between 2011 and 2013, which amounted to just over €10,000.



Bdan ir rapport mesdu David Casa jisthi jghid li hu Malti. Isthu kollha kemm intkhom.
Mr. Balzan this only show what a pathetic position we the people are in. If only come next month I will not be informed that my tax return is in order. It seem the tax department always find something to place their finger to, just to spoil my Christmas because in the end they correct their figures. Yes, under the PN we had commoners become millionaires and under New Labour those millionaires are going for to become billionaires. As someone said as of lately someone borrowed 800,000 euro on a minimum wage. How I wish I have the same opportunities.
Min mejjet ghal qatra u min mejjet fis-sakra! Jien 'direct knock down' bil-kontijiet tad- dawl ta SimonPN hadt......u bhali eluf ta Maltin! Smajna ukoll li habib ta Jason Azzopardi inghattlu art b'kumpens li tiswa 4 miljuni 2 jumejn qabel l-elezzjoni! X'ma ikunux irrabjati, spitefull, u hodor ta SimonPN! Huma biss jafu x'tilfu! Addio l-hajja priviliggata wara 25 sena! X'sar minnhom is-servi tal-kardinal? Inghataw il-liberta mill-fewdu tal-Bidnija?
Interesting...I would like to avail from a direct order...
Saviour Balzan and his motley crew at Malta Today cannot be more pathetic. You correctly report the issue of Jesmond Bonello but yet find nothing to report about your intimate friend John Dalli and him appointing a consultant for Mater Dei IT systems. If course this consultant was Mr. Dalli's aide in Brussels. Maybe Nr. Balzan will discuss this issue on Reporter, but I will not hold my breath.
You call Malta Enterprise "the government's investment promotion arm". Actually, the Malta Enterprise Act says: "To make provision for the establishment of a corporation in Malta, to determine the functions and powers of the Corporation in order to promote enterprise and related business undertakings in Malta, to encourage the establishment of new business undertakings and the expansion of existing business undertakings in Malta, to provide for the development and administration of incentives, schemes and other forms of support for such ventures and to provide for matters ancillary or in relation thereto and to provide for powers to rationalise and update the relevant legislation in the sector." A much broader remit, I am sure you will agree.
Tajjeb Salv, int thammeg kemm trid u l-vuci ta' haddiehor ma tippubblikahiex. Veru ipokrita u m'intix il boghod minn dawk li kontinwament tikkritika ghax bil-fatti daqshom gwapp. Isthi jekk taf u tibqax tilghabha aktar tal-vergni.