The government bypassed Parliament in the privatisation of the Ricasoli oil tank cleaning farm despite granting the land for 30 years, according to Labour MP Helena Dalli.

Moreover, it had completely ignored alternative sites proposed in two reports that the government had commissioned on the facility. This, she said, was another case of bad public administration.

The call for tenders, which closes today, seeks to grant the facility in Kalkara for 30 years.

In reaction, the government said it had no option but to leave the facility there because no alternative sites had been found.

Addressing a news conference, Dr Dalli noted that the government had reports from the planning authority and Malta Investment Management Company Ltd (Mimcol) saying that the facility was an eyesore and hazardous for the people in the surrounding area.

Mimcol is a parastatal company which manages and restructures state-held investments.

The reports proposed alternative sites for the farm, including an offshore oil tank cleaning facility, said Dr Dalli.

She questioned why the government had commissioned these studies but then ignored them. She also expressed disappointment that the tender did not cover the upkeep of Fort Ricasoli and the surrounding fortifications, parts of which were falling into the sea.

Asked about her party’s position on the farm, Dr Dalli said Labour agreed with the regeneration of the area but would have looked into the other alternatives mentioned in the reports.

The government, she said, made a u-turn because its original plan was to remove the facility.

But the Finance Ministry said it had no option but to keep the facility there as proposed alternative sites had all been refused by the planning authority.

It said it had a legal obligation to provide a port reception facility under international conventions.

The ministry said that it would have preferred transferring the activity away from Ricasoli. In 2008 a Request for Proposals for the provision of ship generated waste oils was issued.

The chosen bidder would have managed the Ricasoli facility for just two years and then have had to set up a new facility elsewhere. But proposed alternative sites were turned down, the government explained.