Although the government has insisted that the deal followed all the necessary procurement procedures, there has been much criticism that sale was actually pre-ordained before the 2013 election. The National Audit Office’s lengthy yet damning report published in late 2018 demonstrated how the selection committee, which included among others Nexia BT representatives, nudged the Electrogas consortium through key stages of the selection process while disadvantaging other bidders.
The Electrogas project is also at the centre of a major scandal after leaked emails written by Nexia BT showed the two Panama companies owned by former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and former Minister Konrad Mizzi were to receive payments totalling $2 million from 17 Black, a Dubai firm revealed by the press as owned by Fenech.
Enemalta is bound to purchase all energy generated by Electrogas for 18 years, in turn, passing on the questionably higher costs (plus a profit margin for Electrogas) to consumers. As a result, Malta pays a higher electricity rate (net of tax) than most European counterparts.
The Electrogas consortium was selected to build and operate the LNG power station in Delimara shortly after the Labour Party were elected into power in 2013.