A close associate of former energy and tourism minister Konrad Mizzi was tasked with preparing a “common position” for Enemalta officials during a potential grilling by the public accounts committee, parliament’s spending watchdog.

Beat Ltd’s David Galea, a childhood friend of Mizzi, was hired by Enemalta to review a National Audit Office (NAO) investigation into contracts he himself played a role in negotiating with Electrogas, the consortium behind the new gas-fired power station.

A freedom of information request by Times of Malta revealed the “objective” of Galea’s assignment for the State-owned energy company was to prepare Enemalta for potential questions by the public accounts committee.

Enemalta initially declined to elaborate on the terms of reference of Galea’s review but the documents were provided following an appeal by this paper.

The stated objectives of Galea’s assignment include determining a “common position amongst all stakeholders within Enemalta on the stance to be taken during proceedings of the public accounts committee if required”.

Determining a common position within Enemalta on the stance to be taken during proceedings

The public accounts committee has yet to even begin discussing the NAO’s November 2018 report, which found Electrogas did not comply with minimum requirements to win the contact to build a new power station and supply energy to Enemalta.

It was also found that Enemalta was paying over the odds thanks to the contracts it signed with Electrogas, when compared to tariffs from the Malta-Sicily interconnector.

Enemalta has disputed the interconnector findings.

Apart from sitting on one of the Enemalta selection committees that helped pick Electrogas, Galea went on to negotiate aspects of contracts with the winning bidder. 

The document obtained by Times of Malta shows Galea’s assignment includes carrying out an analysis of the NAO’s main findings and conclusions as well as preparing a report outlining the issues and proposed responses for each issue raised.

The Beat Ltd CEO was also expected to present his findings to Enemalta’s senior management and other stakeholders who could potentially be called in for a parliamentary grilling.

Although a notice in The Malta Government Gazette said Beat Ltd would be paid €6,000 for the assignment, the document states fees payable to Beat Ltd in connection to the project amount to €8,000.

Furthermore, the document shows Enemalta was obliged to provide Galea with technical, legal and economic support to carry out his task.

Enemalta has disputed suggestions that Galea had a conflict of interest in the assignment tasked to him, given his involvement in the Electrogas project.

The State-owned energy provider has said Beat Ltd was originally contracted by Enemalta to provide professional services related to aspects of the Electrogas’s tender.

“Their selection to provide insight into facts that they were exposed to, as consultants to Enemalta, was therefore only logical,” it said.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us