The man who cooked up a storm against former Nationalist Party Minister Tonio Fenech six years ago has benefited from government contracts worth over €1 million since Labour came to power, an analysis of official data revealed.
More than half of that amount – €511,000 – was awarded by direct orders, which included “various maintenance works” at Castille through two contracts worth €77,000.
The company that was given these contracts – TEC Limited – is owned by Carmel Magro. He was at the centre of a controversy surrounding renovation work done at the former Nationalist Party minister’s house through one of his other companies, Rainbow Turnkey Contractors.
Since the election, TEC’s revenue has spiralled. It earned over €355,000 from the Commonwealth heads of government summit alone. Over €67,000 went to TEC for “various maintenance works” at the CHOGM Task Force office.
Mr Magro’s company was the one contracted to set up a marquee at Ħagar Qim (which was never used) for a CHOGM dinner after the company submitted an offer of €57,000.
TEC was also chosen by direct order to set up the press centre facilities at Fort St Elmo for the Valletta migration summit.
TEC generated further revenue of €135,000 just from Carnival activities in 2014 and 2015 – €58,000 of which was by direct order.
The information was given in reply to a Freedom of Information request
Another direct order amounting to a value of €121,000 was awarded to TEC to provide “a backstage compound for the Junior Eurovision festival”.
The information was given in reply to a Freedom of Information request by The Sunday Times of Malta that focused on the main national events since the last election: CHOGM, the Valletta Summit on Migration, the 50th anniversary of Malta’s Independence, the anniversaries of Malta’s EU accession and Freedom Day, Gvern li Jisma and the President’s appointment.
This was combined with additional data then gathered from parliamentary questions. The list of contracts and related revenue is far from exhaustive, which means the total is in fact higher.
TEC was awarded close to €20,000 for “various works” related to the event of Gvern Li Jisma – a public relations exercise by the government where people ask pre-vetted questions to MPs. An additional €15,000 was awarded to TEC for the same activity as well as press conferences organised by the Office of the Prime Minister.
In its annual report, the National Audit Office warned of “non-compliance with public procurement regulations with respect to expenditure” for national celebrations.
Mr Magro’s revenues were further boosted to the tune of hundreds of thousands of euros from contracts awarded to a string of other companies he owns or shares with partners.
The whistleblower came to the fore in 2010 when it emerged that Mr Fenech had contracted JPM Bros for renovation works at his home. The company subcontracted the work to Rainbow Turnkey Contractors, in which Mr Magro was involved.
When the works were finished, Mr Fenech paid JPM and Rainbow according to the bill drawn up by the architect.
However, Mr Magro insisted he was owed more.
During the electoral campaign of 2013, Mr Magro provided tents for the Labour Party’s political activities.
When contacted yesterday, Mr Magro chose not to reply to questions sent, saying that his offices were closed.