Bunker company formed to 'drain' MOBC despite conflict of interest
Island Bunker Oils Limited (IBOL), a company in which Enemalta chairman Tancred Tabone and his adviser Frank Sammut were silent partners, was set up specifically to ‘drain’ business away from MOBC, the corporation’s bunkering arm, a court was told today.
Mr Sammut also used to serve as CEO of MOBC.
Assistant Commissioner Michael Cassar testified in the case today during the compilation of evidence against Virtù Ferries director Francis Portelli and Anthony Cassar, chairman of Cassar Ship Repair. They owned remaining 50% shares in IBOL.
Portelli and Cassar are facing charges of corruption and money laundering.
Mr Cassar repeated evidence given last week when compilation proceedings against Mr Tabone and Mr Sammut were held.
He said the police were told that IBOL was formed in 2002. Mr Tabone and Mr Sammut were silent partners because of their conflict of interest. The company bought two bunkering vessels, Eldaren, which was renamed Golden Bay, and Oarsman. MOBC subsequently leased both vessels.
Mr Sammut was later bought out of the company after disagreements with the other directors. He was paid $500,000 for his 25 per cent share.
Mr Sammut had told the police that he was blackmailed by Mr Portelli over the commissions he used to receive from Trafigura for oil procurement contracts. Mr Portelli denied resorting to blackmail. However Trafigura receipts were found in his office.
Defence counsel Stephen Tonna Lowell said the ships were not owned by IBOL.
Mr Cassar said that the owners companies were linked to IBOL.