A "calm" Konrad Mizzi spent a second meeting of the public accounts committee this week refusing to answer any questions about his role in a controversial power station deal.

The former energy minister spent the two-hour meeting on Thursday repeatedly telling  the committee of MPs investigating him that he would not be answering queries pending a ruling by Speaker Anglu Farrugia.

Mizzi had complained on Wednesday that his rights were undermined by unfounded claims and insinuations by the Nationalist pary chairman Beppe Fenech Adami and MP Karol Aquilina. 

After the meeting concluded on Thursday, the Speaker called on MPs to conduct themselves in a respectful manner and follow all applicable guidelines and rules. 

In the ruling, Farrugia said he had reviewed recent PAC hearings and found several instances when the members resorted to offensive comments. He also acknowledged Mizzi had responded in kind. 

The Speaker said that although the chair of the committee, Fenech Adami, was tasked with putting questions and ensuring the sittings ran smoothly, he still had to abide by the rules and guidelines. This was especially so when dealing with MPs, the speaker said.  

'Follow the rules'

“All members of PAC, while asking freely and objectively on the report, should be cautious that they follow the rules and guidelines that apply,” the speaker said.

In a statement on Facebook, Mizzi said the ruling was a "condemnation of the misconduct of Beppe and his peers".

“We will make sure that the Speaker’s directive is observed, and will not stand for Beppe’s arrogance,” he wrote, without mentioning the Speaker's reference to Mizzi's behaviour.

At the beginning of Thursday's meeting, Mizzi warned the committee that he would not be answering questions.

"I asked for a ruling from the Speaker yesterday. My answer to every question today will be that I will await the Speaker’s ruling", the ex-Labour MP said. 

He even refused to confirm public information about the composition of the committee that selected the Electrogas consortium for the 2013 power station project. 

Fenech Adami questioned whether Mizzi ever received kickbacks from committee member David Galea in exchange for government contracts the former minister sent his way. 

Hitting 'rock bottom'

The MP accused Fenech Adami of reaching rock bottom with his allegations. 

"If you have any proof about your lies, go wherever you want. My position will not change about not answering questions", said Mizzi. 

Mizzi assured the PN MP that he would remain "calm" in the face of Fenech Adami's accusations. 

MPs are analysing a report by the National Audit Office into the deal to grant Electrogas a contract to build and operate a gas-fired power station.  Mizzi piloted the deal as energy minister.

Mizzi was similarly recalcitrant when asked by PN MP Karol Aquilina about his relationship with Electrogas investor Yorgen Fenech, who now stands accused of complicty in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

"These are your assertions" Mizzi shot back when asked if he was close to Fenech. 

"There was no wrongdoing", he insisted. 

A call to Yorgen Fenech about money?

Mizzi would not be drawn into assertions that in the summer of 2018 he bombarded Fenech with phone calls to talk about "money". 

Questions about the Panama Papers and plans to receive funds from Fenech's company 17 Black were also stonewalled by Mizzi. 

"Did you open an account in Dubai? Did you try to open an account in Dubai? 

"Do you confirm that you tried to open an account in a Bahamas bank? In a Miami bank? In the BSI Bank in Panama?", Aquilina asked in vain.  

The former minister's relationships with energy negotiator Chen Cheng were also left unaddressed by Mizzi. 

"Did your wife [Sai Mizzi] introduce you to Chen Cheng?" Aquilina questioned. 

"I will await the ruling from the Speaker", Mizzi steadfastly repeated.

Around an hour into the meeting, government and PN MPs sparred over energy prices.

The government MPs boasted about lowering energy bills, with Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo saying the Maltese people voted wholeheartedly to the PN out of Castille in 2013. 

Exchanges between Mizzi and Fenech Adami were particularly heated at times. 

"We will keep going till the very end", Fenech Adami assured Mizzi in the face of his refusal to answer questions. 

"You are a lost cause", Mizzi shot back. 

"You could be chairman of the world, I will still not answer", Mizzi added.

Questions about secret trips to Dubai, meetings with Leyla Aliyeva and a London trip with Yorgen Fenech were all met with the stock "I will await the Speaker's ruling" reply. 

Queries about the Montenegro wind farm scandal, which saw Mizzi expelled from Labour's parliamentary group, drew similar blanks from the former minister.

The former minister is expected to continue testifiying next week. 

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