The Malta Independent 26 May 2018, Saturday

Shooting range: €5 million direct orders issued because of technical reason, urgency – Bartolo

Julian Bonnici Wednesday, 14 February 2018, 18:29 Last update: about 4 months ago

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo has said that the €2.36 million spent on a direct order for the supply and installation of a Shotnet system at the Shooting Range at Ta' Kandja was issued on a ‘technical reason’ as the company was the only supplier who held a patent certificate.

With regards to the other €2.37 million direct order issued for the construction of the five metre backstop at the shooting range, Bartolo said that this was due to matter of urgency, and that the contractor, Bonnici Bros Limited, was selected through a negotiated procedure. The other bidders were Bava Holdings (€2.7 million) and B.Grima & Sons (€3.2 million).

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Replying to parliamentary questions tabled by MP Ryan Callus, Bartolo also revealed that the works on the shooting range began on 31 October 2017 and will conclude at the end of April 2018.

The range will be administered by the Police Force, the Academy for Disciplined Forces, and SportMalta.

Direct orders have been at the centre of debate in Parliament ever since a parliamentary question tabled by Jason Azzopardi revealed that SportMalta, which falls under the remit of Parliamentary Secretary for Sport Clifton Grima, issued two direct orders amounting to roughly €5 million related to the shooting range which brought stinging criticism from the Opposition bench.

Other parliamentary questions (also tabled by Azzopardi) revealed that the Ministry for Health spent close to €7 million over five direct orders; that the Environment Ministry awarded over €11 million for three direct orders related to waste management; and that six entities that fall under the responsibility of the Office of the Prime Minister issued direct orders worth over €5 million in the space of just over a year.

The Ministry for Gozo, the Ministry for Transport, and the Ministry for Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity issued direct orders of €4.3 million,  €2.8 million, and €1.4 million respectively.

PN Leader Adrian Delia has insisted that these direct orders would be in a breach of regulations given that payments that exceeded €120,000 needed to be awarded according to an established tendering procedure.

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