Electrogas shareholder invokes right to silence when questioned over 17 Black, Kittiwake

Paul Apap Bologna would not answer questions about a company called Kittiwake he set up in the UAE only two months after Yorgen Fenech incorporated 17 Black

Electrogas shareholder Paul Apap Bologna (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Electrogas shareholder Paul Apap Bologna (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

Electrogas shareholder Paul Apap Bologna invoked his right to silence infront of the Public Accounts Committee when confronted over questions on his offshore company Kittiwake and Yorgen Fenech's 17 Black.

During the meeting on Wednesday, Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina asked Apap Bologna whether he owned any foreign companies that were involved in the Electrogas projects, alluding to his secret United Arab Emirates company that is identical to 17 Black.

Aquilina asked whether there had been any agreement between 17 Black and Kittiwake, whereby Kittiwake was being used to funnel payments to a third party.

When Aquilina put forward the first question asking about foreign companies, Apap Bologna's lawyer Gianella Demarco immediately said that he will be invoking his right to silence.

The existence of Kittiwake was revealed by the Times of Malta earlier this month.

Earlier in the meeting, Aquilina also asked whether Apap Bologna knew that Yorgen Fenech had been negotiating with Ram Tumuluri and Bluestone's Mark Pawley, to replace Gasol as a shareholder in Electrogas.

Tumuluri and Pawley were directors of Vitals Global Healthcare, which acquired the concession to run three public hospitals in Malta.

Gasol was initially a lead shareholder with Electrogas, slated to have a 30% stake on par with GEM Holdings. However, Gasol had to pull out of the project after running into financial difficulties.

The shares held by Gasol were subsequently split equally between the remaining shareholders in Electrogas, namely GEM Holdings, Socar Trading, and Siemens.

Apap Bologna explained during the committee meeting that he had been in contact with Gasol since 2006. In fact, Apap Bologna together with Gasol had put forward a proposal on energy restructuring in Malta to Lawrence Gonzi, who was prime minister at the time.

But with regards to Electrogas, it was Yorgen Fenech that led the project, having formed part of the internal negotiating committee put together for the purposes of the bid.

Apap Bologna said that Fenech was the Malta representative on the committee.

Aquilina went on to ask Apap Bologna about Fenech's 10% stake in GEM Holdings through his company New Energy Limited. Apap Bologna said that Fenech paid up the shares, as was greed between the shareholders.

"Yorgen Fenech was going to lead the project, so we thought it fair for him to have a personal stake in the matter," he said.

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