The Malta Independent 8 December 2021, Wednesday

‘Konrad Mizzi created a precedent by not attending the PAC’ - Beppe Fenech Adami

Giuseppe Attard Tuesday, 19 October 2021, 15:54 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Nationalist Party has put forward a motion to get Labour MP Konrad Mizzi to appear before the Public Accounts Committee in accordance to the Erskine May guidelines on parliamentary procedure.

On Tuesday, PN MPs Beppe Fenech Adami, Karol Aquilina and Ryan Callus presented the motion to parliament in order for it to be placed on the agenda for the plenary session, where a vote by all the MP's would determine if the House is going to order Konrad Mizzi attend the PAC meeting on the Electrogas project.

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Mizzi has been summoned by the PAC on two occasions, the first time was right after the parliamentary summer break on the 6 October where only a couple of hours before the committee was set to convene, Mizzi announced that he would not be attending. The second time was on 13 October.

Although Mizzi was not breaking any laws since the guidelines state that attending the PAC is not mandatory, the PN MPs argue that given the subject, Mizzi "was not just any witness to the Electrogas deal, but he orchestrated the project and is the main man responsible," Fenech Adami said.

"His actions do no good for the reputation of parliament and all the MP's within it. Konrad Mizzi is responsible for the project which is costing us millions every year and it is not acceptable for him to hide behind guidelines and not atone for his mistakes."

Over the previous years, numerous ministers, ex-ministers and ex-prime ministers were called in front of a PAC committee, such as Austin Gatt, Lawrence Gonzi and Jason Azzopardi. Fenech Adami said that "Mizzi's actions are unprecedented and after extensive research we have decided to present this motion in Parliament."

"The ball is now in the hands of the government" Fenech Adami said. "If the government does not grasp the opportunity to act against corruption, Robert Abela would be defending corrupt individuals."

"Now is the time for the government and Robert Abela to walk the talk. Tomorrow we have a PAC session and it is imperative that Mizzi answers the questions he is presented with. Being the Minister responsible for this project at the time, only he knows the answers to the questions that the people have for him."

Aquilina said that "this is the procedure needed for justice to be served. After refusing to appear twice we have to put our foot down."

Aquilina then explained how the Erskine May procedure allows this to happen. Through the motion they presented in Parliament, Prime Minister Robert Abela has the decision in his hands.

If presented, a vote would be taken and the majority of the decision would be enacted. Aquilina said that since there is a PAC meeting tomorrow, a vote of confidence against corruption by the Labour government is what's needed.

Callus said that "it is within everyone's interest for Konrad Mizzi to appear in front of the PAC. This is because you, the people, are paying heavily for his corrupt dealings through your water and electricity bills."

A PN led government pledges to buy from the cheapest energy source, unlike what Mizzi has done, Callus said. "In the period of only a year and a half, the Electrogas deal cost us €10 million because we did not buy from the cheapest source. This means an increase of €60 on each electricity bill."

"The €40 million tax rebate given to Electrogas through a unilateral decision by Konrad Mizzi in his capacity as Minister at the time has cost everyone receiving an electricity bill around €230 extra. The opposition's standpoint on this is that it has to be paid back, because that is money owed to the state."

"Konrad Mizzi has led for the gas contract to cost us €40 million more. This €40 million is worse than the other because it is a recurring payment unlike the one time tax rebate."

These €40 million are recurring payments which Malta is bound to make because of Konrad Mizzi, every time gas is bought or the Marsaxlokk tanker is filled up once again, Callus said.

 

 


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