Just under €30 million in direct orders were dished out by public entities falling under three ministers over the past two years, according to information given in Parliament.

An analysis of details on the amount of direct orders given by the ministries run by Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, Education Minister Evarist Bartolo and Economy Minister Chris Cardona since 2016 shows that entities falling under the political responsibility of the first two excelled in procuring goods and services directly rather than by making a call for bids open for competition.

The information, given in reply to questions tabled by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi, shows that a €6 million project under the Education Ministry was commissioned exclusively through direct orders. Sports Malta, which runs the government’s sports facilities, has so far issued 19 direct orders to build a national shooting range at Ta’ Kandja.

These range from the services of architects and designers to two jobs – worth over €2 million each – connected to the installation of technology systems.

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Entities falling under Mr Bartolo allocated a total of €14.5 million worth of direct orders in the period under review. These include direct orders worth almost €1 million for Jobsplus, €6.3 million for Sports Malta, €180,000 for Mcast, €39,000 for Malta Libraries, €446,000 for the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools and €6.6 million for the University of Malta.

Entities answerable to Dr Mizzi – including the Water Services Corporation and Enemalta that fell under his wing prior to the last election – allocated more than €14 million in direct orders.

The WSC topped the list, allocating more than €7 million worth of direct contracts, including one for the leasing of vehicles, worth €844,000. No details were given on the contractor.

Enemalta allocated €5.3 million in direct orders. In 13 cases, the direct orders surpassed the €100,000 mark.

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Among the three, Dr Cardona had the shortest list of direct orders. He is responsible for three entities – Malta Enterprise, Malta Industrial Parks and Kordin Grain Terminal – who spent €1.3 million in direct orders.

According to Finance Ministry rules and public procurement laws, direct order procedures should be resorted to at “the barest minimum”.

Dr Azzopardi sought similar information from the other ministers, who have yet to reply.

ivan.camilleri@timesofmalta.com

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