Car parks bidder says it was never privileged
One of the companies interested in tendering for the now-stalled car park privatisation has denied ever having been privileged by Transport Minister Austin Gatt or any minister or ministry.
KDM Group chief executive Kenneth De Martino said in a statement that although his group had been successful in winning government tenders in the past, it had never received any preferential treatment. On the contrary, it built its reputation through “honest hard work, innovation and an ability to offer unequalled quality of service”.
KDM Group was one of eight well-known companies that expressed an interest in bidding for the tender to privatise 34 public parking spaces across Malta.
Mr De Martino said the group engaged into “fair discussions” with some car park attendants to come up with the best possible package in preparation for the adjudication process.
“This process is a common practice in any competitive environment and the KDM Group has no reason to believe that other interested parties have not done similar negotiations. Yet, the group is being singled out in dishonest accusations,” the group said.
It was reacting to reports, mainly in the Labour media, that gave prominence to a meeting the group organised for car park attendants to discuss the tender.
“The KDM Group prides itself in being a bona fide commercial operator that has earned its trust and success through honest hard work, innovation and an ability to offer unequalled quality of service within the set parameters and rules.”
The privatisation of public car parks has been put on hold following a public outcry and a motion presented in Parliament by the Opposition to halt the process. A petition was also raised against the proposal.
The motion will be debated in Parliament but a date has not been set yet because the Government and the Opposition have not reached an agreement.
On Thursday, the Leader of the House, Tonio Borg insisted on starting the debate on November 8, while the Opposition is proposing October 18, October 25 or November 1.
The KDM Group called on public commentators not to repeat “incorrect facts which others may have purposely fed them”.
“The group is willing to stand up and be judged on any tender that it may have won and is willing to collaborate with any independent investigation, as recently suggested.”
It also reserved the right to take legal action against those tarnishing its reputation.
The group said it had never been awarded a tender by Dr Gatt’s ministry, except the Park and Ride concession and the Valletta ditch rehabilitation and the connection from Marsamxett to Valletta.
However, it said the two tenders were subsequently cancelled and withdrawn by the Government due to change in government policy.
On the tender for warden services, the group said such contracts were awarded by local councils themselves.
The KDM Group is responsible for local enforcement in four of the five regions.