Enemalta’s ex-chairman interviewed by the police
Sammut was paid sum of €95,000 on job termination
The former chairman of Enemalta, Tancred Tabone, has been questioned by police in connection with the bribery allegations involving oil procurement at the corporation nine years ago.
Mr Tabone, who headed the corporation between 2003 and 2005, was questioned about allegations that Dutch Oil company Trafigura had paid Enemalta consultant Frank Sammut a commission in return for oil contracts.
He was called in even before the protagonist, Mr Sammut, from Marsaxlokk, who was interrogated under arrest on Tuesday and remained in custody yesterday.
The development comes after the Finance Ministry yesterday revealed officially that Mr Sammut was not a member of the fuel procurement board in 2004. This is when the commission was alleged to have been paid, according to a Malta Today story on Sunday.
At the time, the ministry said, Mr Sammut was a consultant to Mr Tabone (between August 2003 and August 2004) on a one-year contract. He was tasked with “reorganising and rationalising” the storage of petroleum products at Enemalta.
However, he was not responsible for buying oil, the ministry said.
Mr Sammut was a member of the fuel procurement committee between 1987 and 1998, including under Alfred Sant’s two-year Labour Administration, and an Enemalta director between 1987 and 1990.
He then became a consultant to Enemalta’s chairman and to the board on petroleum and gas between 1992 and 1994 before returning to that position under Mr Tabone’s chairmanship.
However, the ministry underscored that he was not directly involved in fuel procurement for Enemalta after 1998.
Malta Today has also reported that before Mr Sammut was appointed to his consultancy role, the Permanent Commission Against Corruption had investigated him, but eventually absolved him, of allegations of graft that had been made to high ranking officials within the PN.
At the time, Mr Sammut was CEO of the Mediterranean Offshore Bunkering Company (MOBC).
When asked whether these allegations had ever reached him or members of his staff, the Prime Minister yesterday said: “We are talking about a span of 10 years, but it does not occur to me, talking from memory... with regard to these issues regarding the MOBC, this is the first time I’m hearing of these things.”
Asked more specifically whether he got to know about this issue from the newspaper on Sunday, Dr Gonzi said: “I got to know about this from the news that emerged and once I found out I not only asked for verification but I immediately called the Police Commissioner on Sunday morning and told him to investigate.
“To be fair, he told me that he was already at headquarters investigating.”
Dr Gonzi also categorically condemned any act of corruption.
Enemalta last night said Mr Sammut was paid compensation of Lm41,000 (€95,000) when his contract with MOBC was terminated in 2004, in line with contract conditions.
He was informed at the time that following a Cabinet decision, MOBC was to cease its bunkering operations and the post of CEO was to be abolished.