Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is the latest high-profile figure to be summoned to appear before parliament’s Public Accounts committee on Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation into the Electorgas deal. 

The committee has heard from a series of players as it continues to assess the findings of the National Audit Office into the controversial power station deal. 

However most have refused to answer questions, denied responsibility or failed to remember key details. 

Scroll down to read what some of the key figures in the investigation have said so far.

Konrad Mizzi: 'Just an observer'

Konrad Mizzi at the PAC in February 2022. Photo: Matthew MirabelliKonrad Mizzi at the PAC in February 2022. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Getting former minister and Labour MP Konrad Mizzi into the PAC to face questioning was a tall order in itself after Mizzi missed three appointments he was given to attend the sitting. 

Once a rising star within the Labour party, Mizzi was crucial in crafting the new government’s energy policy and piloted the Electrogas power station project. 

When Mizzi did finally make it to the meeting, his first appearance was taken up in a lengthy and fiery sitting characterised by spats and insults in which not a single question was asked. 

In subsequent sittings, Mizzi defended the deal and said that the seven-year fuel hedging agreement signed during his time as minister has saved Malta enormous amounts of money on energy prices. 

However, when questioning turned towards Mizzi’s political history and how he had found himself spearheading Labour’s energy policy, the former Minister stormed out of the room, only to return and continue to stonewall questions. 

Mizzi’s silence continued during a second day of grilling which saw him refuse to answer questions on his role in the deal, whether he had ever received kickbacks from committee member David Galea in exchange for government contracts, his relationship with murder suspect Yorgen Fenech as well as energy negotiator Chen Cheng, the Montenegro windfarm scandal and whether he had attempted to open bank accounts in Dubai and the Bahamas. 

In a later sitting, Mizzi claimed that he was “just an observer” in meetings that led to the decision to grant the power station contract to Electrogas. 

In PAC hearings held earlier this year, Mizzi said that the NAO’s conclusion that he misled cabinet on the deal is “blatantly false” and has dodged questions as to whether he is being investigated by the police on the matter.

Keith Schembri: 'A peripheral role' 

Former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri being questioned by the PAC in March 2023. Photo: Chris Sant FournierFormer OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri being questioned by the PAC in March 2023. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Once Joseph Muscat’s right-hand man, ex-OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri was also summoned to testify before the PAC, providing insight into his relationships with Nexia BT auditor Brian Tonna as well as Yorgen Fenech. 

Schembri said that he knew Tonna in his youth and used his company’s auditor services but insisted that he did not know or did not remember that he also served on the power station deal’s evaluation committee. 

Schembri said he only played a peripheral role in the deal, only learning of progress on the project through cabinet updates and insisted he had never met Yorgen Fenechor other Electrogas directors to discuss their bid for the project, with the exception of one meeting in which he acted as an observer. 

Earlier this year, Schembri also claimed that he “could not remember” authorising his financial advisors to open a secret company in Panama for him, saying that he had only given his consent for them to open a trust in New Zealand. 

Schembri also asserted that former deputy police commissioner Silvio Valletta had lied when he told the public inquiry into the death of Daphne Caruana Galiza that Schembri had called him and told him to call off questioning Fenech. 

This triggered PN MPs to call for a perjury investigation, which led to Schmebri refusing to answer questions at the next sitting. 

Schembri later filed a constitutional application claiming his right to a fair hearing was breached by the request for this investigation, with the Speaker later ruling that Schmbri would not have to give any more evidence to the committee until the outcome of this court case is decided.

Paul Apap Bologna: Refused to answer

Paul Apap Bologna during a PAC sitting in 2021. Photo: Chris Sant FournierPaul Apap Bologna during a PAC sitting in 2021. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Shortly before the former Electrogas director appeared before the Public Accounts Committee, Times of Malta revealed that Paul Apap Bologna had set up an offshore company.

It was identical to 17 Black, the shell company linked to government corruption and owned by murder suspect and fellow Electrogas investor Yorgen Fenech.

Apap Bologna refused to answer any questions about his offshore company  when he was quizzed by MPs, his subsequent resignation from the Electrogas board, his relationship with Socar and whether he had brokered any deals for the company -  one of the partners in the Electrogas power station consortium.

Apap Bologna continually invoked his right to silence, expressing that he felt that the committee was ‘treating him like a suspect’, claiming that the line of questioning was making “accusations and insinuations” at him. 

He explicitly denied bribing anybody in relation to the power station contract. He did however confirm that he had travelled to the Azeri capital of Baku to attend the wedding of Socar Trading’s head of LNG trading Turab Musayev, but failed to give a date for his trip.  

Edward Scicluna: 'Cannot remember'

Former finance minister Edward Scicluna. Photo: Matthew MirabelliFormer finance minister Edward Scicluna. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Former finance minister Edward Scicluna told the public accounts committee that he could not remember cabinet discussing a controversial government guarantee given to state-owned Azerbaijan company Socar in connection with the Electrogas project.

When questioned about the Socar agreement during the hearing, Scicluna said he was not personally informed about the agreement, nor can he remember it being discussed in cabinet, but would not exclude his then permanent secretary Alfred Camilleri knowing about it. 

Scicluna said he was involved in the €360 million government guarantee needed for Electrogas to obtain financing for the project. 

Marvin Gaerty: 'I can't remember anything'

Former tax commissioner Marvin Gaerty. Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaFormer tax commissioner Marvin Gaerty. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

When former tax commissioner Marvin Gaerty gave evidence about his role as team leader for the committee looking into Electrogas’ commercial, technical and financial merits, he struggled to recall many details about the process.

He was unable to remember who the other members of the selection committee were and who appointed him to the committee. “I can’t remember anything, it’s been ten years”, he said when told that his signature was on documents relating to the project’s final evaluation stage.

Brian Tonna: 'I choose not to reply'

Brian Tonna appearing before a PAC hearing, where he refused to answer any questions. Photo: Matthew MirabelliBrian Tonna appearing before a PAC hearing, where he refused to answer any questions. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Former Nexia BT partner Brian Tonna appeared twice before the Public Accounts Committee.

In his first hearing, in April 2021, he first refused to answer any questions, saying he might be a suspect in an ongoing police investigation into the Electrogas deal.

After rolling off the phrase “I choose not to reply”, to any questions relating to his financial advisory firm’s work, he was recalled a week later. At that sitting he said he did not carry out any due diligence on Electrogas’ offer to build a power station, despite being involved in adjudicating bids for the public contract.

The heavily guarded Yorgen Fenech seen exiting parliament after the sitting. Photo: Chris Sant FournierThe heavily guarded Yorgen Fenech seen exiting parliament after the sitting. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Yorgen Fenech: Right to silence

Fenech made a brief appearance in front of the committee, however, the sitting ended without him uttering a single word, with MPs agreeing to suspend his testimony until all the legal proceedings he is currently facing have been concluded. 

Fenech stands accused of complicity in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was investigating the Electrogas contract when she was murdered in October 2017.

His lawyers have told the committee that Fenech is willing to answer their questions, but not before all legal action brought against him in relation to Electrogas are put to bed.


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