A voluminous report by the National Audit Office into the Electrogas deal has yet to see the light of day in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), two years after the probe was completed.
The 500-page report had flagged multiple instances of non-compliance in the requirements for Electrogas to win the bid to build a new gas-fired power station in 2013.
An assessment of the last two shortlisted bids was overseen by Nexia BT managing partner Brian Tonna, who is the subject of a police investigation into an alleged kickback on passport sales to former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri in 2015.
According to a “conservative estimate” by the NAO, energy generated by the Electrogas plant was on average €50.64 per unit more expensive than the Malta-Sicily interconnector.
Enemalta and the government have disputed the NAO’s estimates.
The NAO had said in a statement in December 2018 that it looked forward to clarifying “misconceptions” about the Electrogas report in parliament.
Contacted by Times of Malta about the delay in the report being discussed, a spokesman for the NAO said that “strictly speaking”, the prerogative for setting the agenda in the PAC rests solely with its chairman, however the choice of subjects to be discussed is made by the government and opposition on an alternative basis.
The PAC is chaired by Nationalist MP Beppe Fenech Adami.
Asked if the NAO had a date for when the report would be up for discussion, the spokesman said it had never been the practice for the office to be informed in advance of the subject to be discussed.
“We are always ready to extend our full collaboration towards the PAC both before and during the scrutiny undertaken in respect of the reports issued by the National Audit Office; which scrutiny, irrespective of the subject matter chosen, provides added value to our work,” the spokesman said.
Questioned about when the report will be scrutinised, Fenech Adami told Times of Malta that the PN had over the past years put up a number of topics up for discussions within the committee.
“As soon as the present topic chosen by the government is exhausted, we do not exclude putting the Electrogas report up for discussion,” Fenech Adami said.
The PN MP pointed out that just last month, the party had presented a motion calling for a public inquiry into the Electrogas deal.
Opposition leader Bernard Grech accused the government of wanting to hide the truth about the deal after the motion was voted down.
State-owned energy distributor Enemalta has long been preparing for scrutiny about the deal before the PAC.
David Galea, a close associate of former Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi, was given a contract by Enemalta to help its officials come up with a “common position” for the committee’s questions.
Galea was himself involved in the negotiations with Electrogas.
Mizzi was called in for police questioning in October over his Whatsapp chats with former Electrogas director Yorgen Fenech.
Fenech was last year arrested and charged with complicity in journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder.
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