The Malta Independent 15 April 2021, Thursday

BWSC Denies bribery allegations, Opposition ‘unsatisfied’

Malta Independent Tuesday, 1 December 2009, 00:00 Last update: about 8 years ago

Representatives of the Danish company Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC) which was awarded the e210 million contract for the Delimara Power Station extension, told Opposition Leader Joseph Muscat they did not bribe any government official for the tender award.

However they did not reply to questions regarding the involvement of their Maltese representative Joe Mizzi in the tender issue, Dr Muscat said. “Mizzi is his own man,” Dr Muscat quoted the Danish contractors as having said.

BWSC director Soren Barkholt and marketing chief, Martin Kok Jensen, were yesterday in Malta for separate talks with Auditor General Anthony Mifsud as well as Opposition Leader Joseph Muscat and MP Evarist Bartolo.

BWSC representatives yesterday flew to Malta after Opposition Leader Joseph Muscat last Friday cast doubts over the company’s integrity by presenting a dossier of press clippings from 2003 from the Danish newspaper Borsen, which reported alleged cases in which the company was said to have bribed foreign officials – from The Philippines to Sri Lanka to the Bahamas – to win tenders.

The Labour Party also claimed the BWSC representative in Malta, Joe Mizzi, received e4 million in commission for having won the power station contract for BWSC.

The Opposition addressed the media at The Palace courtyard following the meeting, while BWSC representatives gave comments to the media following the two meetings.

Dr Muscat and Evarist Bartolo said they were not at all satisfied and although Mr Barkholt and Mr Jensen had given them some answers, they had not replied to the crucial questions and particularly those related to Malta.

They confirmed that the Delimara Power Station extension will be the first of its sort built by BWSC and denied what the Prime Minister had said some weeks back, that similar plants were built in France and Cyprus.

Mr Bartolo said the Danish representatives were very interested in discussing matters regarding Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but not Malta.

“We are here to protect the interests of taxpayers while addressing environmental issues,” Dr Muscat said. The meeting has raised even more questions, he added.

They expressed surprise that Mr Joe Mizzi did not participate in the meeting as this was an opportunity for him to clear his name.

On meeting the Auditor General, BWSC denied all claims posited by Opposition Leader Joseph Muscat that the company might have committed bribery acts to ensure that it was awarded the tender for the extension of the Delimara Power Station plant.

The company’s director Soren Barkholt yesterday said that the meeting held with the Auditor General was a very pleasant one, and both parties “have now cleared the air on any doubts which were cast on the company because of recent allegations put forward”.

Mr Barkholt said that the Opposition Leader’s press cuttings from the Danish newspaper Borsen are more than six years old, and that the matters in question are now stone dead. The bribery allegations were not only false and ridiculous but, stated Mr Barkholt, “completely blown out of proportion”.

Mr Barkholt added that he had never met behind the scenes any Maltese representatives or an adviser before the tender for the contract was awarded.

Furthermore, Mr Barkholt said that the extension of the power station, with costs estimated to be in the region of e200 million, will be a “leap in quality in Malta’s air efficiency”.

“This latest fantastic technology will mean that Malta will be saving between e25 million and e30 million a year, while all forms of machinery and equipment which will cut down pollution emissions are top of the range. The company is very proud to have been awarded this very important contract and immensely satisfied that it has the opportunity of leaving its mark on the country to make sure that Malta is at the forefront when it comes to reducing climate change problems.

“Once work is concluded on the extension of the Delimara Power Station, energy efficiency levels in Malta are expected to rise to 51 per cent, which marks a significant leap in the quality of air in Malta from its current efficiency levels of 27 per cent,” said Mr Barkholt.

“BWSC will always operate under strict laws and regulations,” concluded Mr Barkholt.

He described the meeting with Dr Muscat and Dr Bartolo as “a cordial exchange of views, opinions and questions”. No controversial issues cropped up, he added. Asked about the commission Mr Mizzi was paid, Mr Barkholt replied it was substantially lower than what had been published in sections of the media, but did not divulge information explaining the arrangement was a private matter.

He explained that Mr Mizzi was chosen because he understood what the project required and its complexity.

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