Every child born in Malta is familiar with Gasan. As a kid, someone will point at some land and tell you “Eh, dik ta’ Gasan”, and after a while they’ll point at some building and go “Anke dak ta’ Gasan”. When you grow up a bit and you want to buy your first car, inevitably you’re bound to call at a Gasan showroom, and then check out the Gasan insurances, and so on, so forth.

The Gasan family is considered the business nobility of Malta. A bit like, say, Dyson, in the UK.

I am writing about them today because The Shift News has unpicked yet another dark thread linked to that shrine of corruption, the Electrogas power station.

Till now we knew this: Electrogas owners – including the Gasans – pay exorbitant amounts of money to buy liquified natural gas from SOCAR, the Azeri oil company. It shouldn’t be so expensive but it is because a fixed high price was crazily set for 18 years. SOCAR stuffs its pockets with money from Electrogas and sends a tanker of gas to Malta.

Electrogas sells that gas – at the same high price – to Enemalta. Enemalta buys it with our money. ‘Our’ as in the taxpayers’. For all this inconvenience, Azerbaijan was giving one of the Electrogas directors, Yorgen Fenech, some money under the table. Fenech, in turn, shared the spoils with the men who gave the power station the thumbs-up: Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi and Joseph Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Schembri. He fed them €5,000 a day in their own little secret companies. That is what we knew.

Now it so happens that in Malta, when you import fossil fuels from another country, you have to pay tax on it. Which means that Electrogas has to pay excise tax (sisa) when it imports this gas. Because of the high fixed prices, this tax bill adds up to a whopping total of €40 million.

“What?!” said a blue-in-the-face Mark Gasan, one of the Maltese Electrogas directors when they got the first bill. “No, ta! If we have to pay this money then we won’t make any profit!”

“Leave it up to me,” replied Yorgen Fenech, also a director, with a wink. And he trotted off to have a cosy chat with the then Energy Minister, Konrad Mizzi – his fellow secret company mate.

“Oh, shame on you! You worry too much,” giggled Mizzi. “Don’t pay this tax! Enemalta will pay it! Of course, you (and I!) will make a profit! Tee hee hee.”

The Shift revealed that Enemalta pays that tax bill with our money. ‘Our’ as in the taxpayers’. And for those of us who pay our taxes, €40 million stolen from us is a hefty sum indeed. Indeed, what is the prime minister waiting for to tear the Electrogas agreement into confetti and declare it null and void?

Instead, crooked Mizzi still sits in parliament, representing us. If the police get their act together and arrest and prosecute him, then he can be dragged away from that seat. But of course, Mizzi carried out his swindling with the blessing of his boss at the time – Muscat – who also still warms a seat in parliament and who also was friends “like brothers” with Fenech.

It is all one big family. They could just sit round holding hands and sing Kumbaya. But there are another two families – real families – that have been hoodwinking the nation along with them.

They sit there in silence, happy that the spotlight is off them, while they too, pocket the money that by right belongs to the nation- Kristina Chetcuti

For clarity’s sake, Electrogas is owned by three entities:

1. SOCAR, the same corrupt Azeri company that sells Electrogas its product;

2. Siemens, a German company that seemingly sees nothing wrong in dabbling with corrupt practices;

3. Two of the most influential and affluent Maltese families: the Gasans and the Fenechs.

I have nothing against people who have made a very good living for themselves. If they are decent and do not use their money to spoil others’ lives, then good luck to them. But these two families have been leeching it off us.

The Fenechs have now ended up with the family darling, Yorgen, as the suspected mastermind of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination – allegedly plotting to kill her so as to stop her from revealing the illicit cobweb behind Electrogas. And yet, to this day, the Fenechs enjoy opening fat cheques of profit made from this deal, as if it weren’t blood money.

The other family, the Gasans, have been bamboozling us too and have now crossed the line beyond redemption.

Four years ago, in October 2016, an indignant Joe Gasan gave a rare interview to the Times of Malta to defend his obscene projects in Town Square, Sliema, and Mrieħel… and he threw a wobbly. Look it up and read it: in essence he’s saying “Not fair! Why are you picking on us?! Why are you saying we’re greedy when we’re only progressive?! We’re not doing anything against the interest of the man on the street! We do things correctly! Don’t criticise us, we’re businessmen, we’re not the government!”

Talk of spinning yarn. He was saying that, while all along, himself, two of his siblings, his children, his nephews and his nieces were brazenly robbing us of our money. If that does not make you immorally greedy, what does?

Has anyone of them resigned their Electrogas directorship?

Has anyone of them renounced their shares because they would have nothing to do with crooks?

Did they express shock that Daphne could have been murdered because of their dirty deal?

No. They sit there in silence, happy that the spotlight is off them, while they too, pocket the money that by right belongs to the nation.

All roads lead to Muscat, and this is the story of those who propped him and who are still looting our money after his fall from grace.

krischetcuti@gmail.com
Twitter: @krischetcuti

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us