A parliamentary committee hearing from Konrad Mizzi over the Electrogas power station deal on Wednesday had to call a recess to let heads cool as it descended into a shouting match.
The controversial politician also managed to evade any questions by continuing with a lengthy personal statement that he began during his first fiery appearance last week.
Despite assurances of cordiality at the outset, Wednesday’s sitting eventually turned into another melee, with chairman Beppe Fenech Adami moving to call a five minute recess in the hope that cooler heads would prevail.
Watch proceedings below
Mizzi and opposition MP Karol Aquilina derided each other as tensions boiled over before the break. Mizzi said Aquilina believed in "à la carte rule of law", saying he accused others of being corrupt when he had been charged in court with dangerous driving and the police had failed to testify. Aquilina, who was cleared of the charges, hit back with "you are the queen of corruption".
A few minutes later and another playground tit-for-tat, this time between Mizzi and the other Opposition MP, Ryan Callus.
“I’m sure there are many who are telling you ‘good job minister’ for what you have done,” Callus said, sarcastically.
“The electorate have told you and your colleagues ‘well done’ in two elections in a row when they resoundingly voted you guys out,” Mizzi snapped back. At one point the former Labour MP, who was expelled from the party's parliamentary group, said he still enjoyed the support of Labour people.
The committee is reviewing a 500-page investigation by the National Audit Office which found several shortcomings in the way the Electrogas consortium was selected to build and operate a new gas-fired power station.
MPs plan to question Mizzi after the NAO found that in 2018 that the Electrogas bid to win the lucrative power station deal failed to comply with minimum requirements on “multiple instances”.
Prior to her murder in 2017, journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia exposed alleged corruption between Mizzi, Electrogas frontman Yorgen Fenech and the prime minister's former chief of staff, Keith Schembri.
Exhaustive opening statement
In the first sitting, last week, Mizzi started delivering a lengthy introductory speech which was regularly interrupted by bouts of heated exchanges.
He continued with his exhaustive opening statement, which detailed the entire process of the power station project, starting with a retrospective on the energy sector prior to 2013, all the way to the switching off of the old power station and switching on of the newly built one.
At the end of the two-hour and fifteen minute session, Mizzi said he was still not finished with his statement and would continue it in the next sitting.
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