Fabian Demicoli

Valletta LC Waste Management Tender

Council loses
3rd appeal at public contracts review board – Valletta Local Council has lost another appeal in front
of the Public Contracts Review Board in respect to ‘Collection of Mixed
Household Waste in Valletta'. It is the third waste mangement tender that has
come in front of this Board and the Board has taken the same decision in
relation to the same Local Council.

All Waste Management tenders issued by Valletta
Local Council in October 2012 have to be reissued. All aggrieved bidders were
refunded their deposits.

Even though these decisions were taken by the
Board, the Council continues to use its first recomended bidder, Waste
Collection Limited for all three services within Valletta in outright  breach of Public Procurement
Regulations. 

Waste Collection Limited has filed three appeals at the
Law Courts in respect to these three decisions. Our first question is whether
Waste Collection Limited has a right to appeal? The Valletta Local Council was
party to the first appeal at the Public Contracts Review Board and not Waste
Collection Limited.

And just because Waste Collection Limited filed an appeal
at the Law Courts, does this in itself give them the right to continue to operate
the three services? And where is this right derived from? How is this service
provider being paid if there is no letter of acceptance in place? Is there any
reason why a quotation for these services was not issued in line with Public
Procurement Regulations when the Council was adviced to do so by the Department
for Local Government.

GRTU Malta Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises,
continues to harp on this matter because we are here to safeguard a fair and
level playing field for all our members. We cannot allow Local Councils to
treat our members in a different way because they see members with a different
perspective.

We cannot reach a point where the autonomy of the Local
Council means that a Local Council can do whatever it feels like doing with public
funds. Public funds are public funds and their scrutiny is very important.

We are not against Local Councils who want a better
service in a Locality in whatever service, however the tender document issued
has to be followed and adhered to anddecisions of the Local Council have to be
taken in line with the tender document.

We surely feel that it is the ripe time that the
Government should set up Adjudication Board/s in a number of different sectors
related to the day to day running of Local Councils. Tenders relating to Waste
Managment amongst others should be adjudicated by competent persons appionted
by Government through its different Ministries or stakeholders, this both to
protect public funds and also to provide a transparent and level playing field.
The Board would then adjudicate all Waste Managment tenders issued by all Local
Councils.

Over and over again, GRTU has been inundated with
allegations by contractors who operate in the waste managment sector that Local
Councils award the tenders to whoever they want. Whilst this cannot be accepted
as a blanket statement, we are sure somewhere something is wrong. And whatever
is wrong needs to be addressed and solutions found.

Valletta Local Council has clearly shown that it does not
respect either Public Procurement regulations, neither the instructions given
to it by the Public Contracts Review Board, and neither to instructions
forwarded by the Department of Local Government. Can all these Authorities be
in the wrong and Valletta Local Council be in the right?

We are of the opinion that there is more to these three
tenders than what one sees at face value today. Going through the saga from
early 2012 to date shows one trail, a trail of arrogance and half truths which
can never be accepted by the business community in this sector. This sector has
had enough and all it needs is the continued arrogance of a Local Council like
Valletta. If Valletta Local Council have got away with all this, why wouldnt
any other Local Council follow suit? Is this the way forward?

Article written by Joe Attard, GRTU Official responsible
for Waste, Energy , Transport and Environment.
  

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