Opposition Leader Adrian Delia’s decision to drop the motion of no confidence against Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi a few minutes after the Auditor General’s report on the Delimara gas-fired power station project was tabled in Parliament was “baffling,” Partit Demokratiku (PD) said during a press conference today.
PD Leader Godfrey Farrugia said the 600-page report by the National Audit Office (NAO) published yesterday found that the Maltese people are paying “around an extra €200 million per year for a contract negotiated by Mizzi and his friend Keith Schembri with a consortium chosen by a committee led by Brian Tonna of Nexia BT – the personal accountant of Mizzi and Schembri”.
The Auditor General’s report continues to cast serious doubts about the transparency and integrity of the process for the construction and operation of the gas-fired power station project in Delimara, PD said.
It transpires from the National Audit Office’s (NAO) report that:
- The decisions of the selection committee during the Expression of Interest stage were inconsistent;
- The final contract contains open-ended clauses that may be interpreted in favour of Electrogas and against the government;
- The transfer of 30% shareholding in Gasol Plc to the other three consortium partners was not done in accordance with the requirements of the contract;
- There are serious reservations on the risks that the government assumed when it issued its guarantee as part of the bridge loan facility;
- The price paid for Interconnector-sourced energy is much cheaper than the price paid for energy generated by the Delimara gas-fired power station.
PD concluded that the NAO was clear in its assessment: “Mizzi is incompetent at the very least. It is therefore striking that the Opposition Leader decided against taking action to remove him from Cabinet by means of a motion of no confidence.”
The Auditor General’s report comes in the wake of the revelations that 17 Black is owned by Yorgen Fenech, the CEO of Tumas Group, one of the members of the Electrogas consortium that finally won the tender of the project following a process which the Auditor General flagged for ‘possible distortion’.
“We have been calling for Mizzi’s resignation for a long time – even before Delia dreamt of entering politics. Our call however has always fallen on deaf ears. This is why we need to take action in parliament,” Farrugia said.
PD said that in parliament yesterday Delia behaved like the Police Commissioner who carried on eating rabbit while the thief fled the crime scene, the Party said referring to when Ali Sadr of Pilatus Bank was permitted to leave the office in the dead of night carrying bulging bags hours after revelations on the Egrant scandal.
“Delia is now trying to justify his decision to take no action against Mizzi by calling for an independent inquiry into the circumstances leading to the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia,” PD said.
The Opposition Leader called on the Prime Minister to appoint the board of inquiry.
“If Delia thinks we’re idiots, he’d better think again. We make it clear: We have zero faith in any board of inquiry appointed by the Prime Minister,” Farrugia said.
The Party pointed out that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat showed time and again over the past years where his allegiances lie: “Not with truth, justice and change, but with Schembri and those on Schembri’s good books”.
Even if the Attorney General or the Commissioner of Police were to be removed, it is now clear that they will be replaced with people pliant to the Prime Minister.
“We believe that Daphne Caruana Galizia deserves justice. We have been saying this all along and were always consistent in our position. As a country, we deserve truth and above all lasting change. If we do not change then the hidden interests that killed Daphne will kill again,” PD said.
Farrugia said that if Delia truly believed in what he said then PD was ready to work together on solutions with him for a board of inquiry “that satisfies the tests we set today in the clearest and most positive of ways, alongside taking action to ensure that Mizzi submits to the appropriate scrutiny of Parliament through a vote of no confidence as soon as possible”.