The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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‘There was never any wrongdoing on my part,’ Konrad Mizzi tells PAC

Wednesday, 19 January 2022, 14:43 Last update: about 3 years ago

Konrad Mizzi said that there was never any wrongdoing on his part, while addressing a Public Accounts Committee meeting about the Electrogas deal.

The PAC is discussing a report penned by the National Audit Office over the highly controversial contract.

Last November, Independent MP Konrad Mizzi was delivering a lengthy presentation, having taken up two sessions. He still needed more time for his presentation and continues it on Wednesday. He has not yet concluded.

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Mizzi was Energy Minister at the time of the Electrogas deal. The Auditor General, in 2018, had concluded an investigation which found that the Electrogas bid to secure the contract had failed to comply with minimum requirements in multiple instances. Mizzi now serves as an independent MP after he was kicked out of the PL parliamentary group in June 2020.

During a turbulent meeting on Wednesday which saw Konrad Mizzi spar with PN MPs, with many scandals from the Panama Papers to the recent resignation of David Thake mentioned, Mizzi made a declaration.

"I have always made clear that there never was any wrongdoing on my part. I maintain that there never was corruption, never any intention for corruption. I was never going to receive any money."

"You always mention 17 black, Macbridge etc.  I have nothing to do with these companies." He said he learnt about them when they became public. He said he learnt that Yorgen fenech owned 17 Black when it became public knowledge.

He referred to the testimony of Nexia BT's Brian Tonna before the Public Accounts Committee. Tonna, Mizzi said, had told the committee that it was not Mizzi who told him to include Macbridge and 17 Black as target clients for his Panama company.

"I know nothing about those companies," Mizzi said.

On the hospitals contract, he said that the Auditor General criticised governance and contractual issues, but never mentioned corruption. Mizzi said he worked under the direction of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

During the PAC session, Mizzi argued on the importance of the Electrogas deal for the country, and spoke of how Enemalta signed a fixed price agreement with Electrogas. The first phase of the energy supply agreement, he said, comes to an end this year.

While currently costing Malta around 10$ per mbtu (one thousand British Thermal Units per hour) thanks to this agreement, abroad the average price has been $31 dollars, Mizzi said.

Prices would have tripled without the contract, he said.

Consumers wanted and got certainty through the deal, Mizzi said.

The next phase starting this year, Mizzi said, unless Enemalta has made other arrangements such as hedging etc which he would not know about as he is no longer energy minister, would be for an indexed price based off of the Brent price (which is based on oil). He said that had they gone for, in the contract, indexing based on gas, the price would today be sky high, but the indexed price is around €11.2 per MBTU, he said.

The third phase, in 2028, sees the end of the supply agreement, he said. The reason for this, Mizzi said, was due to the possibility of Malta going for a gas pipeline thus allowing for flexibility.

The debate saw heated arguments between Mizzi and the PN MPs.

At one point Mizzi made reference to David Thake and not paying tax. He also said that Bernard Grech had a tax problem. Mizzi said that Thake was a hypocrite.

PN MP Beppe Fenech Adami said that while Thake had the decency to resign, "the problem is that you are still here."

When Mizzi said he did nothing wrong in the contracts under him, PN MP Ryan Callus questioned: "Why were you kicked out of Labour if you did nothing wrong?"

The next PAC session will be on Wednesday.

 

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