Long-standing Labour Party ‘friends’, suppliers used for political mass events and close collaborators of top aides of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, shared more than €600,000 in direct orders from the OPM in the last six months of 2017.

Information published in The Government Gazette shows that soon after Labour’s second success at the polls, the OPM issued dozens of direct orders to many of its close collaborators.

Sources close to the OPM said that most of these direct orders were aimed at serving as a ‘thank- you’ to those who had contributed, through various means, to Joseph Muscat’s second electoral success.

One of the companies that received several direct orders was Webee Ltd, a company owned by Roderick Bartolo and Etienne Borg, who designed and administered various websites for the Labour Party.

Aimed at serving as a ‘thank-you’ to those who had contributed

The OPM issued Webee with direct orders worth tens of thousands related to government events including Notte Bianca and the presentation of the Budget.

Other communications companies that worked tirelessly for the Labour Party campaign before the elections, including Ikona Artworks, were also given substantial direct orders in relation to OPM activities.

Bava Holdings, a company that belongs to the owners of Construct Furniture, who hit the headlines repeatedly in the last few years due to the number of massive direct orders they received, were also on the OPM’s list of favourites.

Both Bava and Construct Furniture were paid tens of thousands for infrastructural works at the Office of the Prime Minister or buildings falling under Dr Muscat’s political remit.

During the previous months, Bava benefitted from direct orders worth millions for the construction of a new shooting range at Ta’ Kandja.

TEC Ltd, owned by Carmel Magro, who installs platforms and other facilities for Labour’s mass events, was also given various jobs by the OPM including the provision of barriers for State visits and the organisation of a concert hosted by Michelle Muscat at Girgenti Palace.

Nexia BT, which handles the auditing of all the private companies owned by Keith Schembri, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, was given an €80,000 direct order for unidentified advisory services. The company had also arranged the opening of personal secret Panama accounts for both Mr Schembri and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi.

Nexia BT has been featuring prominently on the OPM’s direct orders list since Dr Muscat took power.

Other direct orders include ‘jobs’ for several former reporters and employees at Labour’s One TV and for ‘opinion makers’ such as Robert Musmeci and Karl Stagno Navarra, who switched to Labour after serving the PN during its years in power.

Etienne Borg of Webee Ltd. Right: John Ellul, right, and his brother, lawyer Andy Ellul.Etienne Borg of Webee Ltd. Right: John Ellul, right, and his brother, lawyer Andy Ellul.

The OPM’s trough: a six-month tally of payments

Description Contractor Value Connection
OPM delegation to New York Hamilton Travel €52,203 Owner is long time One TV presenter
Advisory services Nexia BT €80,000 Auditors for Keith Schembri’s personal business
Classic under the Stars event Investor Ideas Services Ltd €15,380 Company owned by owners of TEC Ltd, supplier for PL mass events
Communications and research analyst Karl Stagno Navarra €21,600 One TV presenter
Legal and advisory services Jonathan Attard €27,300 Former One TV reporter
Procurement of furniture and refurbishing BAVA Holdings €11,947 Owners of Construct Furniture, close collaborators of PL
Head of Marijuana working group John Ellul €18,720 Former police officer and brother of Labour candidate Sharon Ellul Bonici
Heading of Vote 16 Working Group Andrew Debattista €15,600 Partner of Ramona Attard, One TV reporter now OPM official
Provision of crowd barriers and logistics TEC Ltd €11,910 Labour events contractors
Notte Bianca 2017 Webee €39,417 Web developers of Labour Party website
Provision of crowd barriers TEC Ltd €10,800 Labour events contractors
Notte Bianca 2017 Velprint €12,775 Company owned by close collaborators of PL
Coordination of Initiatives by PS Julia Farrugia Robert Musumeci €21,320 Former PN mayor who switched to Labour
OPM flight tickets to Dubai Vjaggi Untours €15,996 GWU travel agency
Budget 2018 Webee €38,138 Web developers of Labour Party website
Budget 2018 Ikona Artworks €47,178 Providers of services to Labour Party
New website Webee €13,250 Web developers of Labour Party website
Replacement and enhancing of water supply system Bava Holdings €25,330 Owners of Construct Furniture, close collaborators of PL
Installation of furniture Construct Furniture €17,933 Close collaborators of Labour Party
Refurbishment of One Stop Shop Office Ikona Artworks €43,350 Providers of services to Labour Party
Purchase of soft furnishings Bava Holdings €59,857 Owners of Construct Furniture, close collaborators of PL
Provision of audio-visual producer Aaron Briffa €23,422 Former One TV producer
OPM flight tickets to Hong Kong Hamilton Travel €22,813 Owner is long time One TV presenter

 

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