A key ElectroGas shareholder has laid some major doubts on the testimony of the national energy provider’s director Paul Apap Bologna, who previously insisted under oath that he was not privy to information on the company.
Last Friday, Apap Bologna told the public inquiry connected to the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana that he could not be aware of the information because he was not a director and did not join board meetings. Throughout his testimony, he insisted that he only heard of certain details, such as ElectroGas potentially defaulting on loans, through the media.
However, Mark Gasan has now told the same inquiry that both Apap Bologna and himself had served as observers on the ElectroGas board since late-2015 or early-2016.
Gasan also reiterated that both of them served as Yorgen Fenech’s alternates on the board when he was not present. Fenech was completely absent from board meetings once the 17 Black revelations emerged in November 2018.
Apap Bologna will now be brought back into the inquiry on Wednesday to address the issue. Throughout the sitting, he claimed ignorance to dodge answering crucial questions on the deal.
This was not the only point they differed on.
Gasan told the board that ElectroGas will not make a profit until the end of the decade. Apap Bologna said it would be by 2023.
ElectroGas were facing potentially defaulting on payments by August 2017 with the government reluctant to extend a state-guaranteed loan. By February 2017 the company’s bank balance had already plummeted from €450 million to €100,000 by that date.
The Shift News has also detailed how a €40 million excise tax bill was weighing heavily on the company’s mind, battling with Enemalta and Customs as to who would foot the bill.
By October, days after the assassination of Caruana Galizia, Enemalta had “absorbed” the bill, at the detriment of taxpayers. By December, the €360 million state guarantee was extended yet again.
Email exchanges and other documents published by Matthew Caruana Galizia have revealed that key players in former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s administration did all they could to ensure ElectroGas do not default on their loan, which would have been disastrous for the government.
Malta’s Minister of Finance, newly appointed Attorney General, and disgraced former Minister Konrad Mizzi all played a key role.
The ElectroGas consortium was selected to build and operate the LNG power station in Delimara back in October 2013, with a deal eventually signed in April 2015.
ElectroGas is equally owned by three companies – German conglomerate Siemens, Azeri state energy company Socar and GEM Holdings, a Maltese business venture.
GEM Holdings is split between four companies. Tumas Energy and Gasan Enterprises each own roughly 35% of the company. CP Holdings, a company owned by the Apap Bologna family, owns about 20%, while a separate company owned solely by Fenech owns about 8%.
What do you think of the differing testimonies? Comment below