Updated: PM asks Police Commissioner to investigate claims on Enemalta official
Muscat 'shocked but not surprised'
The Prime Minister has requested the police commissioner to investigate claims in a newspaper today that an official involved in Enemalta oil purchases received commissions in a Swiss bank account.
Labour leader Joseph Muscat said in an initial reaction "I'm shocked but not surprised, given the culture surrounding this government - and this ministry in particular."
MaltaToday reported this morning that the commissions, traceable to Enemalta procurement committee member Frank Sammut, were deposited into the account regularly.
The moneys were deposited by Trafigura, a Dutch oil company, to an account owned by Energy and Environment consultants Ltd, which belonged to Mr Sammut. Trafigura supplied oil to Enemalta.
MaltaToday said that it has in hand “conclusive and irrefutable evidence” that commissions were paid to Mr Sammut’s account when he was appointed on the committee to buy oil for Enemalta and also when he was chairman of MOBC.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said when contacted the Prime Minister has requested the Police Commissioners to investigate the allegations and take all the necessary steps in the shortest time possible.
Dr Muscat said:
"The Prime Minister is now responsible to answer clearly on these documented charges against a person who enjoyed his government's trust.
"These charges need to be taken in the context of what this week was described as the powerful oil importers lobby and the major policy decisions to remain dependant on oil for our country's energy needs.
"This is not just about wrong choices anymore. But in whose interest these choices were made.
In an opinion piece in The Times last Friday a former Enemalta manager wrote that Minister Austin Gatt had introduced a number of changes at Enemalta, including in the way fuel was procured.
"This resulted in the formation of a powerful lobby by the fuel oil importers who would stand to lose millions of euros if the power stations converted to gas. This lobby may have influenced the decision but I think the real reason was elsewhere.”
But the minister denied ditching the gas pipeline proposal, saying that this was a Cabinet decision based on the exorbitant costs involved.