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MALTATODAY 2 April 2023

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2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 2 APRIL 2023 NEWS Thank you... for having bought this newspaper The good news is that we're not raising the price of our newspaper We know times are still hard, but we have pledged to keep giving our readers quality news they deserve, without making you pay more for it. So thank you, for making it your MaltaToday Support your favourite newspaper with a special offer on online PDF subscriptions. Visit or scan the QR code Subscriptions can be done online on Same-day delivery at €1 for orders up to 5 newspapers per address. Subscribe from €1.15 a week Same-day print delivery from Miller Distributors mt KARL AZZOPARDI THE Appeals Court has upheld a decision by the Public Contracts Review Board to disqualify Chris- tian Borg's Princess Operations Limited from a multi-million-eu- ro car leasing tender for the judi- ciary. The Court Services Agency had issued a call for tender in May 2022 'for the Lease of 48 Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles for the Members of the Judiciary'. Three companies had submit- ted a bid, with Princess Opera- tions coming in as the cheapest bidder at €2.6 million, with the next closest bid being Fremond Ltd at €3.3 million. However, Princess's offer was deemed "administratively non-compliant" by the selection committee thus disqualifying it from the process. Tests applied to the bids concluded that "the bidder (Princess Operations Lim- ited) did not have the sufficient contracts of similar nature which meet the €1,000,000 threshold". Bidders had to show they were able to live up to the tender's ob- ligations by submitting a list of contracts of "a similar nature" - leasing of cars - for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021, with a total minimum value of not less than €1,000,000. Princess appealed the decision in November 2022, but the re- view board upheld the original decision. Among other reasons, the board of review said the dai- ly benchmark rate of less than €12.11 submitted by Princess Operations was deemed "not re- alistic" since it would be "finan- cially and operationally" unable to meet the extent of such con- tractual obligations. Under the due diligence exer- cise cited by the committee in its decision, it stated that four of the suppliers (Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers, Was- teserv Malta Ltd, Commissioner of Police and Malta Enterprise), were not supplied by the compa- ny as it had previously declared. Princess reacted to this by say- ing that "while this is technically correct" since those contracts were contracted with Christian Borg, it noted that he is the ul- timate sole shareholder of the company. It also added that it could have provided proof that, although the contracts were contracted with Christian Borg, the income was applied to the accounts of the company had it been asked for a clarification. The Appeals Court presided by Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti and judges Giannino Caruana De- majo and Anthony Ellul, rejected Princess Operations's appeal and confirmed the review board's de- cision. In February 2022, Christian Borg, the main shareholder of the Princess group of companies, accused of direct involvement in the abduction and assault of a man, conceded the directorship of his company Princess Oper- ations to Joseph Camenzuli, a one-time photographer for the Labour Party and prime minister Joseph Muscat. Companies belonging to mem- bers of the so-called abduction gang that are now facing charges in court, have changed directors in a bid to avert a fallout from their blacklisting on lucrative public contracts. Sources have told MaltaToday that Borg's companies have held or are holding several contracts with public entities, having won several tenders to lease cars to the police, Transport Malta and LESA. Appeals court upholds decision to disqualify Christian Borg's company from car leasing tender for judiciary CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 But the Health Ministry has now confirmed that PGTM is not yet available because the purchasing of the necessary laboratory equip- ment is still underway. "After the legal changes were approved in July 2022, several tenders for the purchasing of the necessary equipment, in line with government procurement regula- tions, were issued so that PGTM and embryo biopsies could be carried out at the ART Clinic at Mater Dei Hospital," the ministry said. It added that the procure- ment process is at "an advanced stage". The ministry said that the intro- duction of PGTM also requires changes to the laboratory and these preparations are also at "an advanced stage". No timeframe was given for when the ART Clinic will be able to start offering the PGTM ser- vice. The ministry did not say what options were being offered to cou- ples who may need PGTM during this period. Embryo genetic testing was promised by the Labour Party in its electoral manifesto and the le- gal changes were approved within the first 100 days in government. The National Party ping ponged on PGTM, first opposing its intro- duction but later voting in favour when government accepted to include polar body testing (PBT) on female oocytes as an option for those with a moral objection to PGT. Three Opposition MPs dissent- ed and voted against – Adrian Delia, Alex Borg and Ivan Barto- lo – while a fourth, Carm Mifsud Bonnici could not be present for the vote but announced he had moral objections to the law. The law introduced pre-implan- tation genetic testing for nine he- reditary diseases, allowing doctors to choose only healthy embryos for transfer into the woman's womb. Defective embryos will be kept frozen. The nine hereditary diseases are included in a protocol, but the Embryo Protection Authority can consider adding others following discussions with patients seeking IVF treatment and the clinical team involved. Current legislation allows doc- tors to test embryos for the fol- lowing diseases and conditions: Finnish Nephrotic Syndrome, Gangliosidosis, Huntington Dis- ease, Joubert Syndrome, Maple Syrup Urine Syndrome, Nema- line Myopathy, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Tay-Sachs Disease, and Walker-Warburg Syndrome. Procurement process at 'an advanced stage' Christian Borg

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