A €300,000 monthly contract awarded to a cleaning company via direct order keeps being renewed and the government has so far failed to say why.
X-Clean Ltd, a company with an address in Floriana, was awarded the contract for cleaning service at St Vincent De Paul Residence in Luqa just weeks after it was formed in 2015, Times of Malta was told.
When the term of the contract expired more than two years ago, a new competitive tender was not issued and, instead, the authorities kept issuing a monthly direct order to the same company, industry sources said.
Times of Malta estimated the company has already received more than €7 million in direct orders. It asked the government for details, including on how long the practice of renewal the contract has been in place but, so far, no information has been forthcoming. The sources indicated that this has been going on since at least the middle of 2016.
It could not be established whether such procedure is in line with public procurement rules. However, a long-standing Finance Ministry directive lays down that direct orders should be “limited” in scope and restricted to situations of an emergency nature.
A long-standing directive lays down that direct orders should be limited in scope and restricted to situations of an emergency nature
The Parliamentary Secretary for Active Aging, Anthony Agius Decelis, was asked why cleaning services contracts at the Luqa complex falling under his political wing were given through a direct order on a monthly basis but the questions remained unanswered at the time of writing.
The newspaper also asked when had X-Clean Ltd won the original tender, how much did the services rendered cost and how many direct orders had been issued to the same company but to no avail.
Times of Malta is informed that the rates charged by the company for the provision of its services were not the same as those quoted in its original bid. Efforts to obtain comments from the company’s owners were futile and a company spokesman failed to return calls.
The Luqa home for the elderly has already been in the news in the past weeks after what was originally meant to be a €60-million deal for the supply of food and the building of a new kitchen became a €274-million, 500-bed extension awarded to James Caterers and a subsidiary of the db Group.
The National Audit Office is investigating the tender and whether it is in breach of EU public procurement rules.
1. When was the original tender awarded to X-Clean Ltd and for how long?
2. Why has the government kept renewing the contract through direct orders and how many repeated direct orders have been given so far to the company?
3. Why has the government not issued a new tender?
4. Is this according to public procurement rules?
The questions were sent to Anthony Agius Decelis on September 17.