The old military hospital in Mtarfa will soon become an international school, after the government, backed by the Opposition, siphoned off yet another state-owned public asset to a private company.
In what seems to be typical of government sales (see AUM), little was revealed about the operators, Haileybury Malta limited, and what sort of experience they hold in their respective field.
Using publicly-available resources, Lovin Malta took a look at the key players.
Who owns Haileybury Malta Limited?
Haileybury Malta Limited was set up on 13 June 2019 and has two directors in Anthony Michael Polak and Ruth Trapani Galea. The main shareholder is Atlantic Education Alliance Limited, a company that was set up on 28 May 2019 and is jointly owned by Trapani Galea’s RTG Holdings and Polak’s Stanley Logistics, a UK-registered company set up on 27 March 2018.
Stanley Logistics has two directors; Polak and a certain Marie Christine Suzanne Stephanie Polak.
The project is an offshoot of the UK’s Haileybury College, which is “very much involved” with the school that is being developed, having already set up shop in Kazakhstani cities Astana and Almaty.
The Hertfordshire-based school is one of the elite independent schools in England. However, it is not without its own controversy, having been involved in a price-fixing cartel that saw the country’s leading schools drive up their fees for parents.
When and why was the tender issued?
The government first announced that it would be issuing a tender to transform the Military Hospital into an internal school in March 2017, explaining that it was necessary to cater for the growing number of foreigners in Malta.
It was only until April 2018 that a request for proposals was issued by the Ministry for Education. The government’s initial plans were to have existing private schools occupy the premises, however no one applied.
The site amounts to 8,567 square metres with a building footprint of 3,860 square metres. The concession, it was revealed, will be for a 40-year period with an annual ground rent of €50,000 for the first five years which will then increase to €125,000 per year. The rent will then increase periodically after 10 years.
Haileybury Malta Limited was then chosen as the preferred bidder.
Anthony Michael and Christine Polak
Anthony Michael Polak and Marie Christine Suzanne Stephanie Polak have a long history in business, having a served as either directors or secretaries of a number of companies… two of which have been dissolved and another declared insolvent.
Their only links to education appear to be their time spent at Earthprint Limited, an academic literature publisher. Anthony Michael Polak served as a director there between 2000 and 2014, with Marie Polak still holding a position as a company secretary.
The pair also run Stanley Shipping Services, which was first set up in September 2018.
Ruth Trapani Galea
Ruth Trapani Galea is a member of the Zammit Tabona family, the owners of the Fortina Hotel who also count one their owners as the Ambassador to Finland (Michael Zammit Tabona). Galea currently holds shares in MZT Services, Inside Out Company Limited, MJAM limited, and Jamfrac Limited.
Since 2013, she has held a place as a board member at the Malta Gaming Authority, earning a €7,000 a year remuneration.