The road contractors who hoped to get the job of building the Marsa junction are furious over the government decision to award the €40 million tender to a Turkish firm, Times of Malta is informed.
Considered one of the largest road projects in recent years, the construction of a seven-tier flyover structure in Marsa – a first for the country – has been assigned to Ayhanlar Yol Asfaltlama, an Istanbul-based company with years of experience in building similar structures, including motorways, in various countries.
The Turkish company was awarded the contract for €38.8 million, less than €500,000 cheaper than a bid by a consortium of Maltese road contractors called Trinità JV.
Sources close to the government told the Times of Malta that contractors protested strongly to the Office of the Prime Minister and also filed a formal objection at the Contracts Department.
“We cannot understand why such a big project was awarded to a foreign company and not to us Maltese,” one of the contractors complained. “It cannot be that our government would choose an ‘unknown’ company and not us.
“This is not right, and we will fight it tooth and nail. Somebody must have an interest in all this,” another said.
Times of Malta is informed that Ayhanlar was selected after an EU-wide call for tenders, with all the normal procurement rules being followed.
This is not right, and we will fight it tooth and nail. Somebody must have an interest in all this
“The Turks were fully compliant and submitted a cheaper offer than the Maltese. These are the rules of the game, and we have to follow them,” sources at the Contracts Department said.
Trinità JV – which is RM Construction Ltd, V&C Contractors Ltd and Schembri Barbros Ltd – on Tuesday filed a formal appeal and paid a €50,000 deposit to have the Public Contracts Review Board examine the process and re-evaluate the tender.
The consortium is arguing that having a selected company from outside the EU is already enough to disqualify it from participating in the tender.
Moreover, according to Trinità JV, the company did not submit samples of items requested in the tender and does not possess the required asphalt and concrete batching plants in Malta.
The contractors also expressed fears that the workers to be engaged by the Turkish company would not have their welfare protected as they should.
Since the legal monthly minimum gross wage payable to workers in Turkey was €388.51, “Turkish law provides significantly less protection than Maltese legislation”, the consortium insisted.
Trinità JV wants the Contracts Department to disqualify the Turkish company and award the flyover project to it.
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