The Malta Independent 12 December 2018, Wednesday

NAO has ‘nothing to add at this stage’ on PM’s criticism of Electrogas audit

Tuesday, 4 December 2018, 11:03 Last update: about 8 days ago

The National Audit Office at this stage has nothing to add to the audit report on the Electrogas power station deal after the Prime Minister’s criticism of its workings, Auditor General Charles Deguara has told The Malta Independent.

The report, published last week, found serious shortcomings with regards to the bidding process and the due diligence employed. It also noted that prices for the underwater Sicily-Malta interconnector were cheaper than the gas-fired power station.

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Reacting, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the comparisons that the National Audit Office drew between the new gas-fired power station and the interconnector were as a result of a “misinterpretation.”

Muscat said this misinterpretation is based on a number of factors, not least the fact that the NAO did not take into consideration the capital expenditure required to construct the interconnector, like it did in the case of the power station.

The Malta Independent asked Auditor General Charles Deguara for a reaction to the PM’s comments, and whether the NAO would be revising its report.

A spokesperson said: “With reference to your questions hereunder, we would like to inform you that at this stage the National Audit Office would not like to add anything to that written in the extensive and detailed Report published last week.”

In a statement issued this morning, the NAO added: “It is with interest and satisfaction that the National Audit Office notes the extensive public discussion generated by its latest publication, that relating to the contracts awarded by Enemalta to Electrogas Malta Ltd, including yesterday’s debate at the House of Representatives. Such a discussion, coupled with a broader interest in the work of the National Audit Office, contributes to the attainment of the office’s core objectives, that is, the safeguarding of public funds and the promotion of good governance. It is within this context that the office has closely followed all that has been stated and reported in the media subsequent to the publication of its report and criticism directed towards the office was duly taken note of. At this stage, this office looks forward to clarifying misconceptions through the Public Accounts Committee, the forum intended for the objective discussion of the office’s reports.”

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