‘Classroom Containers’ supplied by sister company of Construct Furniture while directors undergo proceedings for manslaughter of 17-year-old

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2019-03-04T13:23:59+01:00Mon, 4th Mar '19, 11:46|0 Comments

The company supplying the notorious classroom containers is owned by the family, members of which are undergoing proceedings for the involuntary homicide of a 17-year-old employee. The containers were supplied by a company co-owned by the owners of Construct Furniture where 17-year-old Matthew Bartolo was killed in 2015. At the inquiry after that death, the Magistrate concluded the directors submitted to investigators forged documents to attempt to prove Matthew Bartolo had been trained to use the equipment that killed him.

The Nationalist Party has criticised the government for the slow pace of development of public schools. Labour has ground the yearly roll-out of new schools under the PN administration up to 2013 to an almost complete halt.

Criticism was particularly poignant in view of the fact that two schools — Marsascala and San Pawl il-Baħar — have now resorted to converting containers into temporary classrooms. The now misnomered Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools has publicly defended the use of containers saying that since they’re air-conditioned they’re actually better than conventional bricks and mortar classrooms.

If metal containers are better than the proper classrooms, you’d have to shudder to think what the quality of the buildings children are taught in is like.

In comments to this recent Newsbook story, FTS confirmed that the containers were supplied by a firm called BAVA Holdings Ltd that has a website that is only half complete and still carries the lorem ipsum dolor gibberish fillers in most of its very few pages.

One fact that is shown on the website though is that Bava’s address is 40, Industrial Estate, Luqa, which is the same address as Construct Furniture.

Indeed the Registry of Companies shows that the shareholders of Bava Holdings are Brigida Agius and her brothers Adolphus, Alviero and Valerio Camilleri. The registered shareholders at Construct Furniture are the same Adolphus (listed here as Adolfo but bearing the same ID number), Alfiero (same ID as Bava’s Alviero) and Valerio, together with John Agius (husband of Bava’s Brigida) and Enrico Camilleri.

Brigida Agius, known to the world as Bridget Camilleri, and her siblings are heirs to the company set up by their father John Camilleri, who died in 2015, a brother to Lorry Sant’s notorious henchman, Piju Camilleri. 

A 2011 NET TV program by Dione Borg told the story of how some building permits in the 1980s would be granted by Minister Lorry Sant if the developer would have agreed to transfer part of the land or property to companies belonging to Piju Camilleri and others.

That 2011 NET investigation delved into the unsolved murder of Lino Cauchi, an accountant found dismembered in Buskett after his 1982 disappearance, aged 32.  That murder was believed to have been motivated by the fact Lino Cauchi had worked for Lorry Sant’s henchmen and knew too many of their secrets.

The Construct Furniture owners came in the public eye again in 2016 when Joseph Muscat recorded an elaborate New Year’s Message in the family home of Fernando Agius, son of Bridget Camilleri and co-owner of Construct Furniture. This version here is a spoof of that video which turns Malta’s prime minister into a Construct Furniture salesman.

A Daphne Caruana Galizia investigation revealed that in the video Fernando Agius lied about being a working class first time homeowner who benefited from Labour government schemes on homeownership. Instead, the scene was filmed in a Luqa home bought with family money when Fernando Agius was still 21 years old and Labour was in Opposition.

The Construct family association with Joseph Muscat’s government started very early on after Joseph Muscat’s elevation to Castille. Construct furniture director Valerio Camilleri is seen here on a delegation of the new Labour government in 2014 and here Construct is seen as part of the consortium awarded the Kappara junction flyover project in 2015.

Seven months before the Prime Minister recorded his New Year’s Message fronting the Construct Furniture specimen kitchen in the house of the son of one of its owners, a 17-year-old boy, Matthew Bartolo, died when he became entangled in the woodworking machinery at the Construct factory.

An inquiry into that death found that “training papers” purportedly signed by the boy and presented to investigators by the directors of Construct appeared to be forged.

In spite of the recommendation to commence proceedings for manslaughter on the directors, the Prime Minister endorsed Construct’s family business with his visit to record his New Year’s Day message. The owners and administrators of the firm were subsequently charged over the death of Matthew Bartolo in June 2017. The case is still underway.

The owners of Construct Furniture have since also been directly awarded the contract to supply schools with containers for school children without room in proper classrooms.