The Malta Independent 13 July 2024, Saturday
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Montenegro wind-farm audit found that Enemalta knew it was paying inflated price - Daphne Foundation

Tuesday, 13 June 2023, 12:43 Last update: about 2 years ago

An audit report into the Mozura wind-farm in Montenegro purchased by Enemalta from a company associated with Yorgen Fenech has found that the state energy company knowingly paid what was an inflated price for the facility, the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation said on Tuesday.

The report was acquired after a successful appeal to two rejected Freedom of Information requests, and was also tabled in Parliament on Monday in response to a parliamentary question by PN MP Mark Anthony Sammut.

The audit report by Mamo TCV Advocates was concluded in 2021 but was kept hidden by Enemalta until the present day.

Amongst other things, it found that Enemalta did not conduct proper due diligence into the beneficial ownership of Cifidex – the company it was purchasing the wind farm from – to identify potential conflicts of interest

Enemalta bought the Montenegro wind farm concession for €10.3 million in December 2015, three times the €2.9 million paid just two weeks earlier by Cifidex, an anonymous offshore company registered in the Seychelles.

The report also revealed that Enemalta knew that Cifidex was itself still in the process of acquiring the Mozura wind-farm for €2.9 million when it purchased the shares from Cifidex for more than triple that amount.

An investigation by Times of Malta and Reuters later uncovered how Cifidex was owned by Turab Musayev, who sat on the Electrogas board alongside Yorgen Fenech at the time of the share transfer to Enemalta.

The report found that Enemalta agreed to a non-standard limitation on liability (that Mamo TCV’s report says the firm had never seen in any other contract) protecting Cifidex from claims of overpayment and that it had no policies or standards whatsoever to guide commercial acquisitions.

The company was found to have also deleted the emails of executives who left the company after involvement in the transaction and also allowed members of the board of directors to use personal email accounts to conduct company business.

The findings were shared by the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation in a statement on Tuesday.

The freedom of information requests filed in 2022 for the audit report had been refused.

The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation took its case to the Information and Data Protection Commissioner who ruled that the report should be released.

Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia also filed an appeal on behalf of Times of Malta as part of a legal support programme for journalists set up and run by the Daphne Caruana Galizia foundation.

In December 2021, the parliament of Montenegro announced an inquiry into the Mozura wind-farm deal. Branka Bošnjak, the Vice-President of the Assembly had said the investigation is motivated by “the fact that this is a major international corruption scandal” and that “there is very important evidence of multimillion-dollar corruption in the project, which will additionally cost the state 115 million euros through a subsidised electricity contract for 12 years”.

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