Gatt says he did not appoint Fuel Procurement Committee members

Frank Sammut a member well before Austin Gatt became a minister

Infrastructure Minister Austin Gatt said this evening he was never involved in the nomination of the members of the Fuel Procurement Committee and Frank Sammut - who allegedly received commissions for oil purchases - was a member well before Dr Gatt became minister.

Reacting to a Labour press conference and media reports, Dr Gatt said in a statement that he was not the one who set up the committee since it was set up in the 1980s.

During his time responsible for Enemalta, the members were not nominated by his ministry or chosen for political reasons.

The committee was actually an internal committee of Enemalta. Frank Sammut was a member of the committee from the 1980s, well before Dr Gatt became minister. At the time Mr Sammut was also a director of Enemalta.

Dr Gatt said the only change made by his ministry was that it broadened the committee in 2003 to include more technical expertise as well as representatives of the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance.

The members were appointed by the Enemalta Board on the basis of their technical competence. The competence of the committee was purely technical and the ministry was therefore not involved.

In 2004, Dr Gatt recalled, he had invited Joe Mizzi, as spokesman for the Opposition, to nominate a member. Mr Mizzi refused to nominate a technical person, saying there should be no political involvement in the committee because of its technical nature.


In a reaction to Labour's statement that he should be questioned by the police, Dr Gatt said he had absolutely no problem should the police wish to question him, and he would collaborate fully and without any qualification with any investigations being carried out.

In a statement, the Infrastructure Ministry said: "Going back to the police headquarters will remind Minister Gatt of the 48 hours he spent in jail in 1982 when interrogated for organizing the PN counting hall team during the
general election of 1981 and the four years he then spent not being able to travel abroad because Evarist Bartolo's friend the ex-Police Commissioner Lawrence Pullicino charged the Minister and 13 other counting agents of trying to usurp power from the Socialist government!

"It will also remind the Minister of the second time he was arrested a year later (1983) and again spent 48 hours as guest of the Labour Party's police and this time three burly hooded individuals entered his cell in the early hours of the morning and spent the next ten minutes swearing at Eddie Fenech Adami and his family.

"In those days, Evarist Bartolo sat serenely within the Labour Party and never moved a finger. It seems that Evarist Bartolo has not changed much since the 80's since even now he seems to expect to order the Police Commissioner what to do," the ministry said.



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