The Malta Independent 23 April 2024, Tuesday
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PAC to summon former Enemalta chairman Alex Tranter to testify on Electrogas

Albert Galea Tuesday, 20 February 2024, 17:01 Last update: about 3 months ago

The government has summoned former Enemalta chairman Alex Tranter – who served as the chair of the state electricity provider between 2005 and 2010 – to testify about the National Audit Office’s investigation into the awarding of the power station contract to Electrogas.

The summoning was made at the end of a Public Accounts Committee sitting which was fraught with bickering and arguing between government and opposition MPs over parliamentary procedures.

The sitting began with PAC chairperson Darren Carabott – who is a PN MP – noted that the government had failed to provide a list of witnesses that it wished to summon about the Electrogas probe by the stipulated deadline which was last week.

He said that he was therefore understanding that the government had no further witnesses to summon and that the committee’s investigation would be suspended pending the testimony of one witness who had expressed that they wished to suspend their own testimony due to pending criminal investigations against them.

Government MP Alex Muscat however said that the government did have witnesses left to summon.  When asked by Carabott as to why the government appeared to be incapable of keeping to the stipulated deadline, Muscat had no answer.

However Muscat simply said that because there was no agreement that the discussion on Electrogas was closed, then witnesses could continue to be summoned.

After much haranguing over the matter, an Opposition motion to declare the matter as suspended due to the government failing to meet the stipulated deadline was shot down by the government.

The government has a four-to-three majority in the PAC.

That majority meant that the government also shot down a motion by the Opposition in order for there to be two PAC sittings next week, and a request by the Opposition to add the NAO’s report on public spending during 2022 to the committee’s agenda.

Muscat ultimately said that they would be summoning Alex Tranter to testify in the next sitting concerning Electrogas in two weeks’ time.

Tranter served as Enemalta chairman between 2005 and 2010, when he stepped down shortly after a private company he was a director of, Sunray Renewables, was acquired by the US renewables giant Sunpower Corporation, in February 2010.

He was chairman during the meetings for the procurement of fuel for Enemalta’s heavy fuel oil power station which became notorious as it emerged that minutes were never formally taken down.

He has already faced the PAC in the past: in September 2013 when he was summoned to testify about the heavy fuel oil plant.

A year later he was charged with misappropriation of funds and misuse of Enemalta’s credit card for personal expenses.

He was cleared of any alleged wrongdoing in 2019.

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