Former Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi faced questions in parliament on Tuesday on whether he has connections with a Dubai-registered company – 17 Black – which, Opposition MPs said, appeared to have been set up to channel funds to secret companies in Panama set up by the minister and chief of staff Keith Schembri, according to an FIAU report.
The questions were raised when Energy Minister Joe Mizzi and his predecessor Konrad Mizzi gave a statement on the security of supply agreement which concluded the Electrogas power station project. (See separate story)
Former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said it was strange that Dr Konrad Mizzi was speaking about energy. Didn’t he have his energy portfolio removed when the Panama secret company was revealed?
In his statement today, Dr Mizzi had forgotten to say that despite his workload, he had still found time to set up his secret Panama company, Dr Busuttil observed.
Would Dr Mizzi explain why he had not resigned once the European Parliament in a report headed by a socialist had insisted last week that he should go, following the Panama companies scandal?
Dr Busuttil observed that at the same time as Dr Mizzi was negotiating the sale of a stake in Enemalta to Chinese interests, his Chinese counterpart set up a secret company in the British Virgin Islands. His company was set up by the same person who set up Dr Mizzi’s Panama company. Would Dr Mizzi explain?
Would the minister explain whether he had any connection with the company 17 Black registered in Dubai. What was his connection?
Beppe Fenech Adami (PN) said the new Delimara power station and the sale of Enemalta were monuments of corruption, as was shown by Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Referring to the company 17 Black, Dr Fenech Adami said an FIAU report had shown that 17 Black was created for the purpose of transferring money to the secret Panama companies held by Konrad Mizzi and chief of staff Keith Schembri.
Furthermore, although Dr Mizzi claimed he never gave the go-ahead for the opening of bank accounts, the FIAU had discovered that the minister travelled to Dubai for this purpose, and to present documents to the bank in person.
During the talks on the sale of Enemalta Dr Mizzi went to China 17 times, including 12 times when the trips were unannounced. The FIAU said it was mysterious how the minister went to China 17 times and explained only five times.
Replying, Dr Mizzi said he had gone to China several times because of the complexity of the talks.
He said he could reply to Dr Fenech Adami by mentioning the Nationalist MP's involvement in the Capital One company and the way it got its money, or the way he had built his villa. But he did not wish to go there.
After Dr Mizzi concluded, Dr Busuttil complained that the minister had not replied to his specific questions.
Minister Joe Mizzi said that Dr Busuttil could perhaps explain his involvement in the Shell aviation fuel contract.
Dr Busuttil said the allegations made against him had been found to be lies and unfounded. He again insisted that Konrad Mizzi should reply.
Acting Speaker Claudette Buttigieg said she could not oblige the minister to reply.