Konrad Mizzi presents belligerent defence of Electrogas project during stormy PAC meeting

Amid hysterical denials of corruption, Mizzi attempts to deviate proceedings with accusations against the pre-2013 PN government

 

Disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi began his testimony to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) probing the controversial Electrogas project with a belligerent exchange with chairman Beppe Fenech Adami about why he had failed to appear on the three previous occasions he was summoned.

During the meeting, the former minister claimed he would “wipe the smirk” off Fenech Adami’s face with his testimony, and accused members of the pre-2013 PN government of corruption that was never investigated.

Proceedings descended into a slanging match between the two sides, as Mizzi indulged in a veritable smorgasbord of whataboutism, and successfully evaded having to answer any questions by eating up all the available time in giving an “oral presentation” about the Electrogas project.

Mizzi, who has defied the PAC’s summons to testify for the past month, was accompanied by his lawyers, retired former magistrate and known freemason Carol Peralta, and Jean Paul Sammut. The former minister was ousted from the PL parliamentary group last year but retained his parliamentary seat and now sits as an independent MP. Neither lawyer spoke during the session.

Mizzi began his ‘presentation’ with a justification of the Labour government’s decision to start the controversial project to build the Electrogas power station. Fenech Adami asked whether the decision included ex OPM chief of staff and accused money launderer Keith Schembri.

This soon led to a shouting match between the two, after Mizzi refused to answer the question, which then expanded to include PN MP Karol Aquilina and PL Whip Glenn Bedingfield.

Mizzi described the project as the “accelerator” of the Maltese economy, claiming it was crucial to lowering customers’ electricity bills and stimulating further investment in Malta and used the “presentation” to repeat the Labour Party’s familiar criticism of the pre-2013 PN government.

Matters exploded again between Fenech Adami and Mizzi after the committee chairman said Mizzi was corrupt. Mizzi responded that he’d call for the Speaker to intervene – as each MP competed to raise their voices the loudest in accusing the other of corruption and illicit activities.

“Fenech Adami can’t speak to me,” Mizzi yelled, over and over, as Aquilina jumped into the fray. Mizzi’s shouting at Fenech Adami continued unabated, as he went on to accuse the PAC chairman of thinking of himself as “royalty”.

The level of the shouting and over-talking by both sides made it difficult to follow the proceedings most of the time, but what became very clear was Mizzi’s intention to deviate the meeting away from his own role in the Electrogas project and fritter away the allocated time in bickering.

In the few, short moments of calm during the proceedings, Mizzi quoted selective extracts of the NAO report on the project that concluded “millions were stolen from taxpayers” to argue instead that the adjudication process was “fair and transparent”.

Fenech Adami countered by saying that the tender conditions were changed after 16 of the 18 bidders had been dropped.

The meeting closed with Mizzi’s presentation still only “one-third” through, amid another squabble over whether he should be allowed to continue or not. Chairman Fenech Adami and Aquilina referred to a ruling by the Speaker in 2019 for statements to be limited to 10 minutes.

Mizzi will be called back to continue his testimony on another day, the date of which is still to be established. He informed the committee that he was not done with his speech, and still had to go through the NAO’s report “chapter by chapter”.

Mizzi’s involvement

The PAC’s investigation was triggered as the scandal-ridden gas-fired power station project became mired in allegations of massive corruption and money laundering involving Mizzi himself, as well as accused financial criminal and former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.

Mizzi was exposed as having set up a secret Panama company in 2013, just days after the Labour Party won the general elections that year, by assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. That company, Hearnville Inc., was later revealed by international media reports, as well as a report by the FIAU, to have been set up to receive kickbacks from Electrogas shareholder Yorgen Fenech.

Caruana Galizia concurrently outed Schembri’s own secret Panama company, Tillgate Inc, also later shown to have been set up to receive large sums of money from Fenech’s Dubai company, 17 Black.

Mizzi has been linked to a slew of major scandals over the past eight years: apart from his roles in the power station and related SOCAR gas supply rackets, he was closely associated with the “corrupt” public hospitals deal as well as the Montenegro windfarm scandal.

He has consistently failed to answer questions about his involvement in the project. When summoned to give evidence to the public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s assassination in October 2017 – which has been linked directly with the corruption behind the Electrogas deal – he refused to respond to 100 questions that were put to him, instead (as he did before the PAC today) making a statement claiming he never took “kickbacks or rewards”.

Mizzi was forced to resign his ministerial position over his connections to the corrupt deals in 2019 and was later ousted from the Labour Party parliamentary group after reports showing the extent of his involvement in the Montenegro windfarm scandal sparked public outrage.

                           
                               
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John
John
24 days ago

Only Chen Cheng and Gahan believe Corrupt Konrad Mizzi

Joseph
Joseph
24 days ago

La legge e uguale per tutti piu i vagabondi che fa la legge. Politicians are more guilty for the corruption they do.

S.Borg
S.Borg
24 days ago

Il Mazuni hekk jhadmu bhal MAFIA. This is a secret organisation.

Noel Ciantar
Noel Ciantar
24 days ago

Why is it that Konrott Mizzi’s “oral presentation” reminds me of that initial statement made by Joseph Mvscat IXXIH the Quitter in front of the Public Inquiry which later found his cabinet collectively responsible for the climate of impunity in the country?

Andrew Farrugia
Andrew Farrugia
23 days ago

RATIGAN should be indicted for serial corruption, severe psychopathy and abject delinquency. That much is clear to anyone who has some semblance of a “healthy” amygdala in his/ her brain.

Last edited 23 days ago by Andrew Farrugia

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