Konrad Mizzi is “stellar”, according to Joseph Muscat. Mizzi is the “most competent person”, Muscat told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday.
For those who haven’t been living on this planet, hearing Muscat speak of Mizzi in such glittering terms would convince them Mizzi deserves Malta’s highest honour, together with the nation’s eternal gratitude.
The American State Department, however, publicly designated Konrad Mizzi “due to involvement in significant corruption”.
The US State Department took the unprecedented step of banning Labour’s former deputy leader and Joseph Muscat’s star candidate from entering the United States.
They outlined the reasons for the draconian measure. In his official capacity as Energy Minister, Mizzi was “involved in corrupt acts that included using his political influence and official power for his personal benefit”.
“There is credible information that Mizzi was involved in a corrupt scheme that entailed the award of a government contract for the construction of a power plant and related services in exchange for kickbacks and bribes,” the US State Department declared.
That power plant and that minister are the same ones Muscat spent two hours defending before the parliamentary committee.
Mizzi’s actions, according to the US State Department, “undermined the rule of law and the Maltese public’s faith in their government’s democratic institutions and public processes”.
Muscat’s devious performance before the PAC was not only brazen but insolent.
Muscat was allowed to harangue the committee for over 40 minutes. They allowed him to hijack proceedings to further “undermine the Maltese public’s faith” in “public processes”.
The ElectroGas project, according to the US State Department, was a “corrupt scheme”. But Muscat deviously maintained “shortcomings were purely of an administrative nature”.
So who will you believe, Joseph Muscat or the US State Department?
If Mizzi was so amazing, so incredibly gifted, so highly competent, how come the Vitals concession was such a catastrophic failure? Why did the court decide Mizzi’s hospitals’ deal was fraudulent? How come St Luke’s Hospital is still falling apart?
If Mizzi were such a “stellar project manager”, why did the NAO condemn the ElectroGas project repeatedly in its report? That report highlighted “the inconsistent approach adopted by the Evaluation committee” and its “failure to ensure that the selection process was fair and impartial”.
It spoke about substantial revisions during the Request for Proposals, “which effectively shifted risk from the selected bidder to Enemalta and/or government”. That amazing Mizzi shafted the nation in precisely the same way as in the hospitals’ concession.
He shifted all risk onto the Maltese taxpayer and away from his friend Yorgen Fenech. As in the hospitals’ debacle, “a major concern identified by the NAO… related to the lack of appropriate due diligence”. The “stellar” Mizzi hadn’t bothered or willfully overlooked “the financial aspect of the due diligence”.
He did the same with Vitals. The NAO found that Vitals, which Mizzi promised would invest €200 million in our hospitals, were only worth €1,200.
It now turns out Mizzi’s financial due diligence on ElectroGas “was not sufficiently robust and deemed inadequate”. More disturbing was that “verifications relating to fraud, bribery and corruption… did not form part of the due diligence carried out”.
The team leader of the ElectroGas Evaluation Committee was “the managing partner of Nexia BT”, the same company that set up Mizzi’s secret Panama financial structures.
Nexia BT was also the auditor of GEM Holdings Ltd, one of ElectroGas’ main shareholders. When the NAO tried to determine whether Nexia BT were GEM Holdings’ auditors when they chose their own clients as the selected bidder, the MFSA “indicated” that “the information was not available”.
“Of greater concern”, the NAO noted, was that ElectroGas’ financial backing was “€20,000,000 short of the total long-term funding specified”.
“The shortfall in financing should have raised concerns,” the NAO said. But Mizzi, the brilliant project manager, wasn’t bothered about a mere €20 million.
He went on to provide ElectroGas with a government guarantee worth €360 million – to make sure Muscat’s friend Yorgen Fenech got the project.
The “stellar” Mizzi burdened the taxpayer with a potential €360 million bill. He then concealed the obscene guarantee – “the Board decided that no reference was to be made to a possible government guarantee”.
The NAO found that “the guarantee provided by government to ElectroGas Ltd was irregular”.
“The NAO cannot comment on whether a prior agreement had been reached with the Partit Laburista before the general election,” the Auditor General said, since its mandate, as Glenn Bedingfield pointed out during the PAC hearing, does not extend to political parties.
Joseph Muscat is still deviously duping the nation. There was nothing wrong with ElectroGas – just “administrative” issues, he bluffed. And Konrad Mizzi is “stellar”.
Muscat is vile. He knows precisely what Konrad Mizzi has been up to.
He knows why Labour ditched him. He knows that Mizzi, the fantastic project manager, refused to do his duty and testify before the NAO – not only in the hospitals’ investigation but also in the ITS investigation.
And Muscat allowed him to defy the NAO. He let him spit in the face of the nation’s institutions. Mizzi not only arrogantly and repeatedly refused to meet the NAO but failed to maintain critical documentation about ElectroGas, Vitals and DB’s ITS concession. That’s not what a “stellar project manager” does.
That is what a criminal, intent on hiding his crimes, does. And Muscat knows it because he let him do it, or perhaps Mizzi was his pawn.
Muscat was part of a triumvirate of treachery with Mizzi and Keith Schembri. He has a vested interest in defending Mizzi. He publicly humiliates his Party by insisting Mizzi is amazing after Labour kicked Mizzi out.
Was Labour stupid or spiteful when it discarded its “stellar” minister? It was neither. Labour belatedly found the courage to dump Mizzi, that festering sore on the nation’s conscience.
Sadly, it allows Muscat, the other gangrenous appendage, to keep poisoning the Party and the nation with his falsehoods and perversions.