The Malta Independent 4 December 2021, Saturday

Apap Bologna denies agreement between GEM and Fenech’s company was a ‘simulation’

Jake Aquilina Wednesday, 16 June 2021, 16:56 Last update: about 7 months ago

Paul Apap Bologna said that it is “not true at all” that the Project Services Agreement signed between Enemalta stakeholders, notably his GEM Holdings Limited and Yorgen Fenech’s New Energy Supply Limited, was a simulation tactic to cover something up.

This was said in the continuation of the examination of the Auditor General's report entitled “An Investigation of Matters Relating to the Contracts awarded to ElectroGas Malta Ltd. by Enemalta Corporation" during another heated PAC sitting.

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Two weeks ago, Apap Bologna said that he and Yorgen Fenech had attended a wedding of Turab Musayev, one of the SOCAR representatives, in Baku, Azerbaijan, but couldn't recall if there were other Maltese people present at the wedding.

Today, a grilling of the Public Service Agreement that Apap Bologna signed took place, where many paradoxical elements in the clauses were identified.

At the start of the session, PN MP Karol Aquilina said that Apap Bologna had requested documents from companies which were named during previous Committee meetings as well as in the Auditor General’s report, but they had refused to provide them. Aquilina said the directors of these companies should be summoned to appear before the committee.

In the Project Services Agreement between GEM Holdings Ltd. and New Energy Supply Limited, which was Yorgen Fenech’s company, it was stipulated that €2.5 million had to be paid, but only €1 million were paid from GEM’s part, PN MP Beppe Fenech Adami remarked. He asked why GEM had dealt with New Energy Supply Limited rather than with all stakeholders.

Apap Bologna said that, “GEM Holdings agreed to pay Yorgen €1 million and Gasol would pay the remaining €1.5 million.” He added that there is another contract between Gasol and GEM Holdings to be paid €1.5 million by Gasol and given to Yorgen for his role of Project Manager.

Aquilina reminded Apap Bologna that the money came from a bank loan. Apap Bologna said that GEM borrowed to pay €1 million to Fenech alone. However, Beppe Fenech Adami insisted that according to the contract, he would pass them on to GEM to pay Fenech €2.5 million and not €1 million.

Fenech Adami questioned how Apap Bologna was willing to bear the burden of contracts made between other shareholders, when a service agreement awarded to it stipulated that GEM had to pay €2.5 million to Fenech.

The PN MPs requested a copy of a Project Development Agreement which was signed on 28 August 2013. Apap Bologna said that if he does not have a copy himself, he would have to ask all shareholders, including Gasol, Socar and Siemens, in order to obtain it.

Aquilina remarked that Gasol was not mentioned in the agreement. Apap Bologna said, “I’m not sure what the answer to this is.”

The PN MP said that this felt “rushed” and started to press Apap Bologna more on this. Questions as to whether this contract was written quickly to cover up things that had already been done (simulation) were asked by Aquilina. “Did you try to cover something up with this agreement?” Aquilina started to ask.

“Not true at all,” Apap Bologna answered.

Fenech Adami highlighted that there were a lot of flaws in the legal document. In one particular instance, he remarked, the contract was saying that GEM will obtain the services from New Energy, yet at another point, it states that ‘GEM agrees to provide the service’, which is the opposite of the aforementioned clause.

Apap Bologna said that it wasn’t he who drafted the legal document. Adding to this, his lawyer, Giannella de Marco, pointed out that the contract could have been written by accountants and not lawyers.

“Is this a mistake or on purpose? That is what I am asking him,” Fenech Adami said. Adding to Fenech Adami’s comments, Aquilina said that this document was very dubious or false, hinting that it is meant to cover something up.

“You’re trying to put words into my mouth!” Apap Bologna said. “I have told you exactly how it happened.”

“This is a hotchpotch contract,” Fenech Adami retorted.

Aquilina asked him to get the back-to-back contracts of all those agreements which are related to this agreement.

In the meantime, Fenech Adami proceeded to highlight further paradoxical clauses. “I am not inventing, these are the clauses” Fench Adami said. “I am not inventing either,” Apap Bolgna replied.

Fenech Adami continued to insist that this agreement (Service Agreement between GEM Holdings and New Energy) was a 'copy and paste exercise'.

Asked by Aquilina whether there are any other agreements similar to this there is, Apap Bologna said that “I have already explained what contracts there are and I am going to get the contracts that I mentioned.”

Aquilina said that even if he doesn’t manage to get copies, he should still write a list to the committee.

Apap Bologna said he was “not privy” to contracts made between the other shareholders between them. He said this when asked about the contract between Gasol and GEM regarding the payment of €1.5 million that would be given to Fenech.

Fenech Adami again questioned how Apap Bologna was willing to bear the burden of contracts made between other shareholders, when a service agreement awarded to it stipulated that GEM had to pay €2.5 million to Fenech.

Another heated discussion between Apap Bologna’s lawyer and Aquilina ensued, echoing the scenes of two weeks ago, where de Marco accused Aquilina of asking certain questions to score political points.

“I don’t believe in criminals, and I don’t get paid by criminals,” Aquilina said.

Aquilina said that “truthful politics annoys Dr De Marco”, with lawyer insisting that the Court has already drawn the attention of the Public Accounts Committee on matters relating to the types of questions which were asked.

“Whatever Dr Aquilina asks you, do not answer him. They are trying to take political advantage,” she told her client, leading Apap Bologna not to answer the final few questions asked by Aquilina.

 

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