New landfill fees being charged by WasteServ at the Maghtab landfill has almost doubled the waste disposal cost at St Vincent de Paul (SVP), the government’s largest home for the elderly.

According to figures published in The Malta Government Gazette this week, the contract for waste disposal covering the home for the elderly shot up by a staggering 92 per cent over the original amount, leading to questions on what caused such a variation.

The data shows that the contractor, WM Environmental Limited, was receiving not only €197,187 for the collection of waste from the Luqa home until the contract’s expiration but an additional €180,952 – a 92 per cent variation.

When asked for an explanation, a spokesperson for the Active Ageing Ministry insisted that the variation had been given the green light by the Department of Contracts as it was compliant with a clause in the general conditions of the contract.

The contract for waste disposal covering the home for the elderly shot up by a staggering 92 per cent over the original amount

The spokesperson said the variance from the original contract was due to the provisions of Legal Notice 242/22 regulating landfill rates, which came into force at the beginning of the year. He said the increase in these fees led to the rise in prices for the disposal of mixed waste from the home for the elderly.

“Calculations of the amount of mixed waste generated by SVP over the period of time from when new rates came into place to the end of the contract - January 2023 to October 2025 – resulted in a variation of €180,951.12 excluding VAT. As advised by the Department of Contracts, this variation was in accordance with the principles of the General [contract] Conditions,” the spokesperson said.

WM Environmental is owned by Wilson Mifsud who has been in the business for over 10 years.

In 2019, as part owner of local firm Specialist Group Cleaners Ltd, and in collaboration with Italian company Diemme, Mifsud won a two-year contract to clean all state schools. The joint venture was called Brightness JV.

Contracts did not allow for competitive process

Times of Malta reported last year how the Education Ministry had issued direct orders to clean all Malta’s State schools in line with rules introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic. More than €10 million were handed to the same cleaning company by the government. 

The contracts did not allow for a competitive process and in one instance were slammed by the courts as illegal and a result of government incompetence.

Then, in August 2021, the Education Ministry tasked the company to do the same job, this time awarding a contract by ‘negotiated procedure’, claiming its hands were tied by the virus outbreak.

Justifying the decision, the ministry claimed there was an “extreme urgency” due to new protocols issued during the outbreak. It said it could not wait to go through the lengthy tender process.

In 2021, the Health Ministry released rules for what it described as ‘enhanced cleaning’ in schools. These, however, contained no material changes to guidelines already issued a year earlier.

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