14 September 2005

The Web

‘Exceptional’ items: government buys 46 cars

Karl Schembri

The Finance Ministry has authorised the purchase or lease of 46 new vehicles since the last budget speech, The Malta Financial and Business Times has learnt.
The latest orders came from the Malta Tourism Authority which will be leasing 14 new cars following the end of the previous lease agreement, including a luxury car for the executive chairman.
Last November, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi had declared that no new cars will be bought for the public sector “except in exceptional circumstances as authorised by the Finance Ministry.”
Finance junior minister Tonio Fenech yesterday said that all the 46 vehicles were authorised by him in the last 10 months, including 32 purchases and 14 leases.
“Nobody can bypass me,” he said.
The MTA executive chairman’s car has to be equipped with all possible extras, according to a call for tenders. Fenech said the limit is set at Lm10,000, excluding registration.
The list includes the purchase of 15 new scooters for the police to fulfil their CHOGM commitments and five new cars by Gozo Channel. One car at the Tripoli consulate had to be bought again, paid by insurance, after it was stolen, while a new car for the Parliamentary Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs had to be bought after it was found that repairs to his 1999 car were excessive.
The Water Services Corporation bought five used crew cabs after it was established that it made more cost sense than hiring.

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