Another day, another dodgy contract

Another day, another dodgy contract. I wonder, what’s it like being Konrad Mizzi?

The latest dirty deal to surface from the cesspool of Castille presents another face of the Great Electrogas Ripoff.

It seems the island’s provider of overpriced energy wasn’t happy with the Auditor General’s investigation into its “sinister” contract.

And so they tried to cover their tracks before Joseph Muscat was forced from office.

Right about the time he was assuring Konrad ‘Con Man’ Mizzi of a nice €80,000 sendoff, Enemalta issued a €6,000 direct order to one of Mizzi’s friends.

David Galea’s company BEAT Ltd was paid €6,000 to review a critical report by the National Audit Office (NAO) that looked into whether or not shenanigans were involved in awarding the power station contract to Electrogas.

And Galea ought to know… He was involved in awarding the power station contract to Electrogas.

Wrap your head around that for a moment and come back when your brain has stopped spinning.

BEAT Ltd sure beat the hell out of the public purse. The company already got €142,525 in direct orders to adjudicate the tender for building the new power station. But it was important that a friend of Konrad handle it because they really really wanted to make sure Electrogas got the job.

Of course, Galea claimed Enemalta never asked him to conduct “audits or investigations” into the contract he helped award. Like so many of his colleagues, he’s a victim of fake news.

At first glance, it sounds like he’s been spending time with John Dalli, and Grandpa Out-to-Get-Me’s persecution complex is rubbing off on him.

But no, he’s just playing fast and loose with the truth like the rest of them. Clouding the waters with lawyerly quibbles.

Galea’s right about one thing. He wasn’t asked to conduct an investigation or an audit. And why would he be? Galea is neither an investigator or an accredited auditor. But no one said he was.

He knows very well that the word in his contract is “review”.

But that isn’t even the main issue. He’s trying to distract you by arguing about the colour of the paper to stop you from looking at what’s written down.

Galea was hired by a Board that he was a member of to conduct a review of that very same Board. He’s evaluating his own decisions. And he doesn’t see a conflict of interest?

Does anyone doubt that the conclusion of BEAT Ltd’s review will be: “Nothing to see here”?

It’s a typical Cunning Plan courtesy of everyone’s favourite technocrat guru. I don’t know how he keeps all these roles straight without wearing different coloured hats.

Of course, Galea chose to defend himself on Facebook, playing the victim after having been caught, in true Mizzi fashion.

“Even during this pandemic, some people think they can destroy you by spreading lies, twisting facts and spewing hatred,” he writes, in a virtuoso demonstration of his vocabulary. “I stand strong and I stand tall amidst this adversity and am available for questioning to provide the necessary clarifications in the proper fora.”

I have three problems with this.

One, Galea looks neither tall nor strong.

Two, “fora”. Who even says that? Give this man bonus points for pretentiousness.

Three, he knows and we know that he has no intention of answering any questions in a court of law, a Board of Inquiry or the Roman forum.

It’s just a variation on the usual threat to sue — as though threats of “see you in court” are in themselves a form of exoneration.

Once there, the story follows the usual pattern: years of delay, years of evasion, years of stalling until everyone’s forgotten why they went to court in the first place.

In the meantime, the Galeas and the Mizzis of the world dodge questions, hiding out in that grey zone between accusation and legal conviction, proclaiming themselves innocent because they haven’t yet been charged.

If he does finally get forced into court, he can always pull a Schembri by dropping his case and running away.

But why stop with Electrogas when there’s hay to be made? It won’t surprise you to learn BEAT Ltd was given other jobs by Conman Konnie.

Galea’s company was also paid €64,000 to act as project manager for the controversial ITS move out to the boonies in Smart City. I suppose his job was to beat any semblance of accountability out of it.

It beat away all evidence of the work they allegedly performed, too. The NAO report concluded that, apart from some initial plans, “no further evidence of the work conducted by BEAT Ltd was provided to the NAO despite queries submitted to Projects Malta”.

Is it any wonder the IMF is breathing down Malta’s neck? Slow Eddie Scicluna is busy… well… looking busy, padding out the regulatory bodies with more employees, filling the books with more regulations no one will follow, busy making a show to say, “See, we’re doing something just like you told us to…”

But he’s deliberately avoiding the one thing that’ll bump Malta off the fast track to the grey list: prosecuting the low hanging fruit.

You know, Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri, Adrian Hillman, and all those friends of friends. The entire country has seen the evidence published in the news media and leaked in carefully compiled FIAU reports.

If only Slow Eddie could convince the police to touch the untouchables, Malta might actually keep a US dollar correspondent bank.

Alas, accountability is too much to ask. Every time The Shift kicks over a rock and finds another scuttling David Galea busy taking funds he shouldn’t have access to, for a job he shouldn’t be doing, this government goes through three of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, and pretending it’s perfectly fine.

They know they’ll walk away free while you’re left holding the bag.

Someone better wake up ‘continuity candidate’ Robert Abela and prop him in front of a camera again. The citizens of Absurdistan need the vapid reassurance of his fixed grin.

Read the investigation: Firm involved in Electrogas scandal gets direct order to review audit report… on the same scandal

                           
                               
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