Former Electrogas director Paul Apap Bologna on Wednesday denied bribing anybody in connection with the power station contract.

Asked by Labour whip Glenn Beddingfield whether he had ever bribed anyone in connection with the project, Apap Bologna said: “I have never paid anybody anything in my life in connection with this project.”

He was testifying before the Public Accounts Committee which is investigating a 2018 National Audit Office (NAO) report into the Electrogas deal. The report had flagged “multiple similarities” in the presentation about the project circulated by Apap Bologna, and the eventual power station project undertaken by the Labour government in 2013.

However, Apap Bologna said there were several differences between what he had proposed and what the new government had wanted.

One of the differences was that the regasification unit was on the vessel, not on land. He said the company he was dealing with - International Power - wanted to install a 400-megawatt plant in Malta so that energy could be sold to Italy because of a shortage of power there.

He added he had presented the same paper on the restructuring of energy generation in Malta in around 2006 and had met the likes of former prime minister Lawrence Gonzi and ministers Austin Gatt, George Pullicino and John Dalli.

“The feedback I received to my proposal was positive,” he said when he was asked why the previous administration had chosen the BWSC plant, which operated on heavy fuel oil.

He added he had been informed that there had been other companies that had shown interest in putting LNG projects forward.

“Gas was always the way forward for Malta because it is cheaper and more environmentally friendly,” he insisted, adding that the 2005 energy generation plan included a proposal for Malta to move to gas.  

'I have nothing to hide'

Asked for his opinion about the conclusions of the NAO report, Apap Bologna said the report flagged things that could be done better but insisted that the final outcome of the report was that “that the project was done in a very fair and just manner.”

“The adjudication seems to have been done transparently and openly and the right measures were taken for the adjudication to happen in the right manner,” he said.

Asked why he felt intimidated during previous PAC sittings, Apap Bologna said he felt that statements he was not making were being misinterpreted and words were being put into his mouth. He added that some insinuations about him and his legal advisor “were completely below the belt.”

“I have nothing to hide on this project,” he added.

He invoked his right to silence when asked whether he had ever been investigated by the police.

He also invoked his right to silence when Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina asked him questions related to the revelations of the Panama Papers on offshore companies, and whether GEM Holdings had discussed the news that Yorgen Fenech was the owner of the secret company 17 Black.

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