Law for gods and law for animals

Lou Bondì did put several questions to the persons addressing the press conference but he has never declared his conflict of interest in the issue: Tancred Tabone’s sponsorship of Lou Bondì and Peppi Azzopardi

Lou Bondì
Lou Bondì

The Romans used to say there is a law for gods and a law for animals. It seems to be still the case in the investigations into the oil purchasing scandal of Enemalta. If you are an animal and you are given a silver tray you are charged in court with bribery. But if you are a god you are invited to the office of the Commissioner to put your mind at rest that you were only given a clock and you can live happily ever after.

Have the local police asked Interpol to help them in their investigations into the role of oil multinationals Trafigura and Totsa in Enemalta's oil purchasing scandal? Will these two be charged with paying bribes after having made arrangements with key government-appointed officials of Enemalta to deposit money in their personal accounts in Geneva as shown on invoice dated 25 March, 2004, which was revealed by MaltaToday on 20 January, 2013?   

Corruption cases similar to the Enemalta oil purchasing one being investigated at the moment in Malta show that multinational companies like Trafigura and Total pay their bribes to big fish through front men. These front men do not reside in the country of the big fish, and are also of a different nationality.

A similar trend is emerging locally where the local agent George Farrugia, who was given a Presidential pardon, was paying locally in cash the small fish implicated in the case. In similar cases, the big fish are paid in bank accounts in Panama, Switzerland, China and other countries indirectly by the foreign companies themselves like Total (Totsa) and Trafigura.

But these multinational companies use a number of different persons to hide the trail of the money paid and it is very difficult to trace the movement of this money unless American dollars are passed on in cash and then they are identified through New York. For tax avoidance purposes, these payments are called consultancy fees.

MaltaToday had broken The oil scandal story through its front page based on documents that show that on 6 February, 2004 Trafigura - the multinational commodities trading company - invoiced Enemalta for the amount of US$4.4 million for 26 thousand metric tonnes of low sulphur fuel oil. On 25 March, 2004, Trafigura was invoiced for US$19,402 by a company called 'Energy & Environment Consultants Ltd.' registered at 28, Irish Town, Gibraltar holding an account at the HSBC branch in Piazza Manzoni in Lugano, Switzerland.

Investigations carried out in Gibraltar unearthed evidence that the director of this company was Frank Sammut, sitting on the Fuel Procurement Committee of Enemalta, and General Manager of the Government owned Mediterranean Offshore Bunkering Company Ltd. (MOBC) that like Enemalta also fell under the ministerial responsibility of Austin Gatt.

Hidden hats

Forestals, the company of Tancred Tabone, the former Enemalta chairman facing court charges over the oil scandal, was one of the biggest sponsors of Where's Everybody? of Lou Bondì and Peppi Azzopardi.

Viewers of Pjazza Tlieta, Bondi+ and Xarabank may well remember the adverts and sponsored gifts galore during these programmes. Tancred Tabone's Forestals offices in Sliema indeed witnessed the birth of Xarabank in the late 1990s.

The common factor between Tancred Tabone and Lou Bondì is none other than Minister Austin Gatt. Indeed, both Tabone and Bondì are Gatt's cousins.

Since the oil scandal erupted in January, Lou Bondì has attended several press conferences that discussed this scandal. Lou Bondì did put several questions to the persons addressing the press conference but he has never declared his conflict of interest in the issue: Tancred Tabone's sponsorship of Lou Bondì and Peppi Azzopardi.

In the meantime, the former Forestals offices in Sliema were demolished to make room for 110 apartments which Tabone is to build with PN Financier Zaren Vassallo.

Tabone is also a PN benefactor and through the years gave electronic gifts costing thousands of euros to the PN to raise funds through its telethons.

Tabone's Forestals is also part of Smart Technologies, the company that leases thousands of computers to government in an agreement worth over €22 million signed amid controversy in 2007. Minister Austin Gatt defended the signing of the contract which his cousin Tancred was going to benefit from substantially.

Evarist Bartolo is shadow minister for education

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U ma ninsewx kemm kienu jghatu rigali il-ForesTals waqt il Gbir ta' Fondi u kampanji tal-PN ohra barra reklamar iehor! Xejn ma jsir b'kumbinazzjoni u "SENZA INTERESSI" bhal xi self ta' xi €250,000 "SENZA INTERESSI" u bla "KONFLITT TA' INTERESSI"!
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Tutto fa brodo!