Construction tycoon Charles Polidano’s firm is among 19 companies that have been barred in the last month from public infrastructure contracts until they settle their tax dues. 

Infrastructure Malta told Times of Malta that the group of construction operators have been struck off the list of companies eligible to maintain and repair roads and carry out other national projects.

The firms are still eligible to apply for other types of contracts, however, they will still need to present documentation to prove their tax situation is in order before being given the green light, the agency said.

Infrastructure Malta released the data in response to questions sent about Polidano being awarded public infrastructure projects despite having a massive tax debt stretching back some 20 years.

Last Sunday, Times of Malta revealed that Polidano, known as iċ-Ċaqnu, has been ordered to pay a massive tax bill of some €40 million, with the debt stretching back to the 1990s. 

The 60-year-old businessman is one of the wealthiest men on the island, and is regularly involved in roadworks and other major national projects managed by Infrastructure Malta as well as other state entities.

A new system for the procurement of services for some of its services

To apply for government tenders, bidders must hold a compliance certificate which ensures they have no major outstanding dues and that their affairs are in order. 

Asked how Polidano had been allowed to continue applying for, and win public contracts, Infrastructure Malta declined to get into the merits of any individual operator.

Instead, it said it had recently introduced a new system for the procurement of services required for some of its projects, including emergency repairs, periodic maintenance, alterations to existing infrastructure and other related works.

Polidano, the agency said, is currently contracted to provide services to Infrastructure Malta in connection with three projects.

These include the remedial works of the Ċirkewwa Ferry Terminal, over which the agency recently reached an out-of-court agreement with Polidano, after a report found damage to the building.

While the agency did not comment on whether Polidano was among the 19 barred from bidding for several contracts, senior sources at the agency confirmed that the company had been on the list for several weeks. 

A few months ago, the agency said it introduced additional measures to ensure bidders are all tax compliant and in possession of a tax compliance certificate.

As a result of this process, in October, 19 bidders were suspended from bidding for Infrastructure Malta projects under this mechanism.

Since then, two of them have regularised their position while others are in the process of submitting applicable documentation.

The agency said it could not ban companies from bidding for work procured through other processes, such as public calls for offers, however bidders for “high value contracts” need to provide a tax compliance certificate before being offered a contract.

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