Updated at 7.40pm with PL statement
A report into the Electrogas power station deal found “200 million reasons for Konrad Mizzi to go,” Opposition leader Adrian Delia said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference in parliament, Dr Delia said the National Audit Office had found that the power station agreement was costing €200 million more than what the Sicily-Malta interconnector would have cost annually.
The National Audit Office published an extensive report spanning over 500 pages into the power station deal on Wednesday. The report found various shortcomings in the 2013 selection process that eventually saw Electrogas win the contract to build a new power station and supply electricity to the national grid.
Dr Delia said it was now crystal clear the agreement had been tampered with from day one. He noted the report found the evaluation committee, which Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna formed part of, treated different applications for the deal differently.
While certain candidates were not allowed to proceed with their submissions, others were allowed to continue the process, Dr Delia said, adding this was a classic case of two weights, two measures.
“They closed one eye to some and both eyes to others,” Dr Delia noted.
“Dr Muscat’s government wanted to give this deal to Electrogas from day one,” Dr Delia added, noting that minister Konrad Mizzi closed this deal even after he had been stripped of his Energy portfolio.
Dr Delia then turned to address the Prime Minister: “You’ve been lying and defending the indefensible for a long time. Today, those on your side of the House noticed as well. Those who voted for you realised as well. Enough is enough,” he said.
'Like living in a parallel universe'
He also reacted to comments made by Dr Mizzi and Dr Muscat following the publication of the report.
Dr Mizzi's reaction - in which he said he was happy with the NAO findings - was “surreal”.
“It’s like living in a parallel universe,” Dr Delia said added.
Asked whether he believed this report will lead to the resignation of the Tourism Minister, who has faced multiple calls for him to go, Dr Delia admitted he “believed he will persist”.
“The ball is no longer in his court - the Prime Minister has to take action,” he said.
Earlier in parliament, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the NAO report proved there had been transparency all throughout. Despite some shortcomings, the process was correct, Dr Muscat said.
However, the government did not agree with certain conclusions of the report, particularly its finding that the interconnector would have been cheaper.
We will be tabling documents that show this to the public, Dr Muscat said.
Clear that Delia has not read the report - PL
In a reaction to Dr Delia’s statements, the Labour Party said that from what the Opposition leader said, it was clear he had not read the report.
For the Auditor General’s investigation brought to nothing the Nationalist Party’s negative and destructive campaign about the project.
Dr Delia’s analyses that the people were paying €200 million more a year was superficial or made by someone who only wanted to deceive.
The Auditor General, the PL said confirmed that the project was necessary for security in provision as well as for the country not to be dependent on polluting oil but instead use electricity generated from gas.
Nowhere did the auditor agree with the PN statement that the project was unnecessary.
The auditor’s report clearly showed that the Electrogas consortium offered the cheapest energy rates among those taking part in the competitive process.
Moreover, the NAO considered the request for proposals document a structured one which provided a solid basis for those who wanted to submit an offer.
Clarification processes led by Enemalta were considered well structured and documented and the office considered these measures as proceses that led to transparency and fairness.
The PL said the cases of conflict of interest alleged by the PN were also not confirmed by the Auditor General who noted the European Commission’s wide scrutiny. The EC had been clear that no European regulations were breached in the contract award. What Electrogas received was at the same level as that companies in other similar projects would have received.
The auditor also confirmed that the government made reasonable income from the temporary bank guarantee also fizzling the PN’s campaign.
The NAO noted, the PL said, there was no evidence which sustained what the Opposition leader said that there could have been an agreement about the project from before the general election.
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