A damning audit report has confirmed that John Bundy, the CEO of PBS, broke with procurement regulations in a €500,000 car lease deal and also found he had “consistently bullied” the senior management.
The audit was ordered after the Public Broadcasting Services board last month informed the government it had lost confidence in Mr Bundy following months of simmering tensions.
Conducted by local auditors RSM, the report mainly focused on an eight-year procurement deal which Mr Bundy made with Burmarrad Commercials.
The lease deal, for 14 vehicles, included Mr Bundy’s own car, which PBS management are unsure he is entitled to.
The Sunday Times of Malta is informed that the audit found the lease agreement was made without board approval and breached procurement regulations.
The PBS board will be holding a special meeting at the auditors’ office on Wednesday to go over the findings and come to a decision on what steps to take with regard to Mr Bundy.
Meanwhile, a sworn court affidavit by PBS financial controller Brian Galea, seen by this newspaper, sheds light on how Mr Bundy repeatedly claimed to have been given the go-ahead to make the deal by a certain Charmaine Portelli at the Justice Ministry.
Mr Galea also said he had told Mr Bundy the deal should have gone through the normal public tendering process – advice that he said was ignored. Mr Galea said Mr Bundy’s attitude on the matter as well as on other issues raised was “utterly stubborn”.
“He would say, verbatim: ‘I don’t give a damn about the chairman or the board… I am in charge here’,” reads Mr Galea’s affidavit.
The testimony is backed up by another affidavit, by Edmund Tabone, PBS’s corporate services manager, who is responsible for procurement. He too testified that Mr Bundy had repeatedly said he had the Justice Ministry’s clearance, given to him by the same Ms Portelli.
Mr Tabone added that Mr Bundy would make the claim whenever it was pointed out to him that such deals should go through public tendering rather than a direct quotation.
When Mr Bundy informed him that Burmarrad Commercials were the chosen suppliers, the CEO said that “Charmaine Portelli was pleased and had approved the deal”.
Prior to the no confidence motion, sources told this newspaper that the board had taken a decision to remove all procurement responsibilities from Mr Bundy. The sources pointed out it was his handling of services procurement, renting out TV studios and farmed-out programmes that were among the issues the board was unhappy with.
Questions sent yesterday to Justice Minister Owen Bonnici, under whose portfolio PBS falls, were not replied to by the time of writing.
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