MPs on the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday spent two hours wrangling over the procedure to summon witnesses in its investigation into the Electrogas contract, and reached no conclusion.

Thursday’s sitting was meant to confirm a list of 84 witnesses that the Opposition wants to question about the Auditor General’s report into the contract awarded to Electrogas. 

The report had found multiple instances of non-compliance in the winning bid submitted by the consortium. 

Instead of agreeing on the witness list, MPs wrangled over the procedure for summoning witnesses.

Government MPs, who are insisting on a timeframe for the Electrogas investigation, demanded that the Opposition justifies the reason behind summoning each witness.

Opposition MPs pushed back, saying a cursory glance at the designations of the people on the witness list should make it clear why they are being summoned.

PAC chairman Darren Carabott, a PN MP, questioned why government MPs wanted to adopt this new procedure.

“We are not a court. This is a parliamentary committee. It was never the practice to determine the scope behind summoning each witness,” he said.

Labour MP Andy Ellul said the government side does not have objections about any particular witness.

Rather, the point was to avoid prolonging proceedings, as the committee’s probe into the contract has already been ongoing since December 2020, Ellul said. 

As the meeting dragged on, the government sought to formalise its request for the scope of every witness to be explained before the committee issued a summons for them to testify. 

PN MP David Agius objected, instead requesting a ruling from Speaker Anġlu Farrugia on the matter.

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