Muscat challenges Gonzi on yet more unpublished Enemalta reports

Labour leader Joseph Muscat challenges Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi to publish all Enemalta reports, says that there are more reports 'that people should know about'.

Joseph Muscat reiterated his challenge to Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi:
Joseph Muscat reiterated his challenge to Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi: "Are you sure you published every thing related to Enemalta?"

Labour leader Joseph Muscat pressed the advantage against the Nationalist Party on several fronts during an animated address delivered at a political activity in Lija on Tuesday evening.

Muscat took the Nationalist Party and Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi to task on various issues, ranging from Maltatoday's recent revelations of kickbacks related to Enemalta oil purchasing agreements, to unclear statements regarding the PN's deficit 2015 targets.

Muscat noted that despite assurances that the government had published all the relevant documentation related to Enemalta, he said that PN was quick to change position after Labour's challenge.

"We simply asked a question, and [the PN] said that they had [published all reports]. After two days, they were quick to admit that they had not. Maybe the Prime Minister thinks the story ends here. But I say again: are you sure you published everything?"

Muscat said that Labour was unaware of the Lahmeyer report before government published it earlier this week, suggesting that the hidden reports that the PL was hinting at were yet to be unveiled.

"You might want to gather your people around you and have a better look," Muscat warned Gonzi. "You have other reports that the people should know about regarding Enemalta."

Reiterating his opinion that the allegations of Enemalta/Trafigura oil-purchasing kickbacks to Frank Sammut "represent only the tip of the iceberg", Muscat noted that despite two days had passed since the revelations made headlines, Gonzi had yet to pronounce himself on the issue.

He also said that while it has been revealed that money is being pocketed on oil purchase agreements, while adding "what we do not know however is whether that person who pockets the money keeps them for himself of spreads the around."

"The Prime Minister needs to speak out on the issue. He needs to be clear whether he became aware of the allegations on Sunday, or whether he or his people were alerted to abuses within Enemalta regarding how oil is bought," Muscat said.

Muscat also linked the issue with government's decision to not opt for the gas pipeline proposal that it had before it in 2003/2004, whereby a gas pipeline would have been constructed by Italian energy giant Eni.

"Now we are better understanding why the panic from certain people, given how today we are discussing switching from oil to gas and ending our dependency on oil," he said.

He said that government's decision to not opt for gas in 2003/2004 meant that the country continued purchasing oil for years. He said that during this time, Malta was spending roughly €1 million each day on oil (€360 million per year).

He noted that now, the PN government is admitting that in 2008 it was told by its consultants that Malta needs a gas terminal. "Instead he bought a power station that runs on the most polluting fuel in the world."

"As days wore on, the more oil we bought. The more oil we bought, the more commissions were reaped," Muscat said.

He added that now, the PN government has applied for EU funding for both a pipeline and also a gas terminal.

"They criticise us for proposing two LNG storage tanks, despite how the government is now proposing the construction of an enormous gas terminal for the while of Europe, in Maltese waters that floats on the sea."

Describing this as a €700 million project that will "bear fruit" in between eight to ten years, Muscat expressed scepticism regarding how government was insisting on the viability of a project that will take longer to build than the PL's.

He however noted that the longer Malta takes to switch to gas from oil, "the more oil we buy, and the more commissions roll in."

During his address, Muscat also questioned how the Nationalist Party seemed to be quick to jump on Labour's bandwagon the moment it unveiled a proposal.

"We announced we would be providing free childcare," Muscat noted, describing the proposal "as a big social and economic breakthrough for our country" and adding that others were quick to announce that they would be doing likewise.

"If you were going to do it as well, why didn't you introduce it in the budget?"

Muscat also pointed to Labour's pledge to remove prescription on cases of political corruption, saying that similarly, the PN came out in favour.

"If you agreed with it, you've had 25 years to implement it. What were you waiting for, our proposal?" Muscat asked as the party faithful applauded.

The Labour leader said that mere hours after Labour announced plans to extend MEPA permits beyond their present five-year limit; government was quick to issue a document announcing the start of a consultation process regarding the very same issue.

Muscat also hit out at the PN regarding conflicting messages regarding the budget proposal for the removal of succession tax on property.

He said that while, in last Sunday's Mument, Gonzi said that succession tax would be removed on all property, that same day in the Sunday Times, Tonio Fenech said that it would be removed on the first property only.

Muscat said that a reading of the 2013 Budget reveals that given how government expects to collect €1 million from succession tax, "Fenech is right and Gonzi is either misinformed or intentionally trying to be deceptive."

Muscat also hit out at Gonzi regarding his recent pledge that a PN government can guarantee a balanced budget by 2015 despite how this same government's own budget estimates foresee a deficit of €49 million by that same year.

@camillu. Are you saying that Malta Independent and the Times of Malta have no right to their editorial line? I think they have: they are privately owned just as Malta Today. However, PBS does not belong to the GonziPN's clique that has made its home at Gwardamangia: PBS is paid through our taxes and it should NOT be a monopoly as it is now: of Bondi, Peppi, Norman and Pierre Portelli, all Nationalists who are part of GonziPN's strategy to stifle PL and anyone (including Debono, Mugliet, Dalli JPO)who does not thaw the GonziPN line!
MaltaToday should stop attacking other journalists about imbalance because reading through MaltaToday online one realises that all MaltaToday reporters are labour diehards. I'm sure you wan't publish this comment because, as you know Mr Balzan, truth hurts.
Luke Camilleri
COME OUT CLEAN Dr. Gonzi and show us all! We want ANSWERS, on why targets have not been kept and that's our money that is being paid out in commissions, money entrusted to YOU for administration not to spend irresponsibly without GETTING THE FULL VALUE OF MONEY SPENT!