A €13 million shooting range in Ta’ Kandja is already showing major signs of wear and tear with attendees complaining about the substandard maintenance of the multi-million euro facility.
Images sent to Lovin Malta show how parts of the safety curtains at the facility have been practically ripped off, while paved areas for visitors have been overtaken by overgrown weeds and massive cracks.
“The place cost millions and it is a shame that we practice our sport in this miserable place,” one regular shooter at the facility told Lovin Malta.
The current state of the Ta’ Kandja shooting range is a shotgun to the face of the millions in taxpayer money that went towards the facility. A competition is scheduled for next weekend and it appears that two of the ranges will be closed because of poor maintenance.
In a last-minute electoral pledge in 2017, then-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the range would cost around €7 million and would be ready in time for the Shooting World Cup.
However, costs quickly spiralled out of control with some 25 direct orders worth a total of €13 million being dished out by SportMalta, the government agency responsible for the project.
Road builders Bonnici Brothers received more than €5 million in works, including the building of a €2.3 million backstop, which includes the now-damaged safety curtains, and the €1.7 million installation of artificial turf. Bava Holdings was also a significant beneficiary.
The government turned a blind eye, justifying the use of direct orders for almost all the works because of the “urgency” of the project.
At the time, the agency was managed by newly-elected MP Chris Bonett, while the Parliamentary Secretary for Sport was current Education Minister Clifton Grima. Evarist Bartolo was heading the Education Ministry.
A National Audit Report later confirmed gross irregularities in the project, finding that there were weak control and financial irregularities with payments being made without the signing of proper contracts and the necessary authorisations.
Almost €4 million worth of the direct orders issued were not even covered by performance guarantees, as stipulated by procurement rules.
Still, the report, which was released after Robert Abela became Prime Minister, was mostly ignored by the government and no action was taken.
Questions have been sent to Education Ministry.
What do you think of the money spent?