Konrad Mizzi’s permanent secretary Ronald Mizzi testifies before the PAC

Joseph Muscat called in to testify at the next PAC meeting on Tuesday 20 June


Economy Ministry Permanent Secretary Ronald Mizzi, who served as disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi’s permanent secretary during the negotiation of several tainted deals, said he “never had any suspicions or saw any wrongdoing” when testifying before the Public Accounts Committee on Tuesday afternoon.

In its 30th meeting on the subject, the PAC continued its analysis of the National Audit Office report on the Electrogas energy project. The report, which was published in November 2018, characterised the scandalous project as “irregular” and “possibly distorted”.

Following Ronald Mizzi’s testimony, the PAC agreed to call in disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat as a witness at next week’s meeting.

During the at-times argumentative meeting, Mizzi, the former permanent secretary for the energy ministry who now oversees millions of euros in EU funds, claimed he was not part of the energy deal’s tendering process given that he started the role in April 2014, after ElectroGas had already been decided upon when his predecessor Mario Rodgers was permanent secretary.

Mizzi claimed that when he took on the role he was given little in the way of a handover and did not feel the need to ask about the project, preferring to “learn as I went along” and saying he did not feel the need to reevaluate the tendering process.

Throughout the meeting, Mizzi claimed to not know how key decisions on the deal were taken, claiming that the decisions were left in the hands of the Electrogas consortium and that he was not involved.

These decisions included the procurement of the LNG tanker, the negotiations over the LNG Security of Supply agreement, and the decision to go with an offshore rather than an onshore LNG storage.

The latter decision was described by the NAO report as being taken on the basis of assertions that were “factually incorrect.”

The report also found that a pre-2013 election presentation by holding company GEM bore “multiple similarities” to the final project Enemalta undertook. GEM counts Tumas Energy as a shareholder. The latter was headed by Yorgen Fenech, whose other company 17 Black was set to transfer funds to the accounts of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri.

The report’s findings led credence to claims that the Electrogas deal was pre-planned even before Joseph Muscat’s first election.

Characterising the deal as a “challenging project”, Mizzi said, “there was never a red light indicating I should have thought something was wrong with the deal”.

When asked whether he spoke to Konrad Mizzi’s consultant David Galea, Mizzi confirmed as much but could not name the title under which Galea had been employed at the energy ministry, saying he was simply “one of those involved, so I asked him”.

Opposition MP and PAC Chair Darren Carabott also asked Mizzi about his involvement with the project after he and Konrad Mizzi left the energy ministry for the tourism ministry. Carabott cited an email thread where Mizzi was forwarded questions sent to Electrogas ahead of a 2018 article, for him to correct the answers.

Carabott claimed that despite no longer working at the energy ministry at the time, Mizzi “put substance over form” and took it upon himself to amend the answers, “because I tend to be very exact”, skipping over Anthony Gatt, who was permanent secretary for energy at the time.

Mizzi said that “it was outside of my portfolio per se, but I was the one who had historically worked on that project”. Mizzi’s statement was followed by a brief argument between Carabott and Labour MP and PAC member Glenn Bedingfield, over what Bedingfield characterised as a “stupid question”.

When asked about Konrad Mizzi’s transparency, his former permanent secretary said “he was always transparent with me”.

The meeting concluded with a terse remark by Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo calling for the protracted analysis of the NAO’s report on the Electrogas deal to wrap up.

The deal under scrutiny was spearheaded by Konrad Mizzi soon after Labour took the helm in 2013, promising to reduce energy prices and introduce a cleaner source for Malta’s energy needs through liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The deal cost taxpayers double the market price for the provision of LNG due to the $1 billion deal the government of Malta signed with Azerbaijani state-owned oil company SOCAR. The deal itself nearly fell through due to financial issues which were only papered over when the government provided a guarantee on a €450 million bridge loan issued by BOV.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 months ago

Fejnhom l-arresti Sur Kummissarju? AHNA ARRESTI RRIDU mhux PACs. Irridu dal-kapitlu jinghalaq illum qabel ghada u narawhom imsakkrin Kordin.

3 months ago

All those summoned as witnesses in front of the never ending PAC meetings repeat the same refrain…….. I was not involved, I saw nothing, I was not present.,I forgot, I have nothing to hides, everything was done above board.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
3 months ago
Reply to  joseph

In other words: It wasn’t me, it was ‘them’.

3 months ago

Ronald Mizzi said, “there was never a red light indicating I should have thought something was wrong with the deal”.

Just this statement shows the incompetence of this person who was shot in top public office when Labour was elected into power. It’s that or else he is a big liar. The real truth is that Ronald Mizzi was specifically appointed to the top post to handle in an intelligent and smart manner all of the corrupt projects that Konrad Mizzi executed. Ronald Mizzi is in the category of the straight-up criminal government bureaucrats. His role was specifically to fix and cover corruption with legalism and bureaucracy.

Ronald Mizzi was very good at covering up for Konrad Mizzi and he did this willingly all the way when he knew that Konrad Mizzi’s projects involved extensive corruption!

JR Ellul
JR Ellul
3 months ago

 €450 million bridge loan issued by BOV !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3 months ago

These are Not Permanent Secretaries. They have been placed on a Gahan Go Round , rotating between corrupt deals not to notice anything, while the ministers hear about corrupt deals and play dumb. The only qualifications these PL Perm Secs have is a
” Till Death Party membership” To impress us , this PS took with him two bags of documents which he never read. The PAC Chairman should have asked him if he brought them to deposit at the PAC .

Related Stories

Data Commissioner orders government to publish EuroPride costs
Parliamentary Secretary Rebecca Buttigieg has been issued an enforcement
Film Commission studies contradict themselves as filmmakers lament ‘lack of transparency’
Big differences in the reported findings of two unpublished

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo