Former EU Commissioner John Dalli had passed on a pitch about an LNG power station project, similar to the one eventually undertaken by Electrogas, to former prime minister Lawrence Gonzi in October 2008.
A letter obtained by Times of Malta shows Dalli, who at the time served as minister for social policy, had told Gonzi he could speak to eventual Electrogas investor Paul Apap Bologna for further details about the proposed project.
A former official from the PN administration told Times of Malta that Enemalta had undertaken some preliminary analysis about the proposal but had not taken it any further.
Contacted by Times of Malta about his role in the proposal, Dalli said he had simply informed Gonzi about information he had received, and it was up to the prime minister to decide how to act.
A 2018 investigation by the National Audit Office found “multiple similarities” between the presentation in question and the contract eventually put to tender by Enemalta in 2013 under the Labour government.
The Auditor General said these similarities lend credence to claims by former opposition leader Simon Busuttil that the Electrogas project was part of a pre-electoral agreement with Labour.
Both the investors and Labour officials have denied striking such a deal.
Questioned if the Tumas and Gasan groups were already involved in the proposed project back when the letter to Gonzi was sent in October 2008, Dalli replied that he had only spoken to Apap Bologna.
“I had no idea who was involved.”
Dalli’s sister Anna is married into the Fenech family and holds shares in Tumas Group.
A side agreement reached between the local Electrogas investors in 2014 saw €2.5 million in success fees being signed away to Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech for his role in sourcing contractors and “interfacing with the authorities”.
According to the agreement, Fenech’s company New Energy Supply Limited first started developing the project in 2007 together with GEM, the holding company that brings together Paul Apap Bologna, Tumas Group and Gasan Group.
The agreement acknowledged the unsuccessful pitch about the project made to the then PN government.
New Energy Supply was only set up in 2014.
Apap Bologna told the public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s murder that the reference to Fenech’s involved in the project in 2007 was down to a mistake in the drafting of the agreement, as Fenech only became involved in the project in 2013.
Former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, who was a friend of Fenech, reiterated in the inquiry last week that he has never been approached about the project by the Electrogas investors prior to the March 2013 election.
However, the Labour Party began developing a plan to build a new LNG plant as early as 2011.
A ‘confidentiality agreement’ in 2011 was signed with a company called Energy World to assist Labour in its proposal to build a new LNG plant and reduce energy tariffs by 25 per cent.
Energy World had filed an appeal in 2013 after losing out on the power station bid to Electrogas.
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