Oil scandal | Police seek evidence from Gibraltar, Switzerland

Update 2 | Police request Court to issue rogatory letters to gather company and banking information from Gibraltar and Switzerland in charges against former Enemalta chairman Tancred Tabone.

Police Inspector Angelo Gafà, who led investigations into the Enemalta oil procurement scandal, has formally requested the Court to issue rogatory letters and be sent to Gibraltar and Switzerland, in a bid to gather official documentation pertaining to company registrations and bank accounts in the respective countries.

The request was filed before Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit who this afternoon presided over the continuation of the compilation of evidence against the former Enemalta chairman Tancred Tabone.

Tabone, 61 of Sliema, is pleading not guilty to aggravated corruption, trading in influence, breaching the official secrets act and money laundering. He is accused of having accepted commissions on the sale of oil to Enemalta when he was chairman between 2003 and 2005, from oil trader George Farrugia, the local agent for commodities giants Trafigura and Total.

Stafrace Zammit said that she would wait for defence lawyer Giannella de Marco to submit her questions to be included in the rogatory letters, before giving a formal ruling on the request.

During today's sitting, Inspector Gafà produced Antonie Galea, Enemalta's chief financial officer, who said that all minutes he found related to the meetings held by the corporation's board and the oil procurement committee had no signature, and there seemed to be no ownership as to who wrote and compiled them.

Galea presented two thick files with details pertaining to the call for tenders issued by Enemalta for the procurement of fuel from French oil giant Total and Dutch commodities supplier Trafigura.

Between 2003 and 2005, the time Tabone served as chairman, Enemalta had signed a total of 10 procurement contracts with Total, which also included jet fuel oil. There were also some extensions granted to some of the contracts which carried Tabone's signature together with the then finance chief Pippo Pandolfino and the chief executive.

With regards to Trafigura, he presented the invoices and payments made, as well as the extensions granted, which however only carried Tabone's signature as authorisation.

Galea stressed however that the contracts awarded were unanimously approved by all board members. "There was nothing to show that anybody ever objected to the contracts to either Total or Trafigura," the witness said.

He added that Trafigura and Total always appeared to have been the cheapest bidders.

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