Baku wedding for Electrogas shareholders Yorgen Fenech, Paul Apap Bologna, PAC hears

Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee continues to probe the findings of the NAO’s report on the Electrogas tender by quizzing Maltese shareholder Paul Apap Bologna

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

Yorgen Fenech and Paul Apap Bologna were invited to fellow Electrogas director Turab Musayev’s wedding in Baku, Azerbaijan, parliament’s Public Accounts Committee heard.

The information was supplied by Apap Bologna who was testifying in front of the committee that is scrutinising the National Audit Office’s findings on the Electrogas tender.

Opposition MP Karol Aquilina ended the sitting with a series of questions, which Apap Bologna’s lawyer, Giannella de Marco objected to because they were irrelevant to the NAO report.

Apap Bologna said the only time he travelled overseas with Yorgen Fenech in relation to the Electrogas contract was on one occasion to London.

However, when pressed as to whether he travelled with Fenech to Baku, Apap Bologna said the visit was unrelated to Electrogas.

Aquilina then asked about Musayev’s wedding. Musayev was a director of Electrogas, representing the interests of Socar, the Azerbaijani company that formed part of the consortium.

Media revelations have showed that Musayev was very close to Fenech and was a partner in the Montenegro windfarm project that Musayev’s company bought and resold to Enemalta for a generous income that was shared with Fenech.

The following exchange ensued:

Karol Aquilina (KA): Have you been to Baku?

Paul Apap Bologna (PAB): I have been to Baku, yes. But not on the subject of Electrogas.

KA: You are so close to Yorgen Fenech that you went to Baku with him to watch a football match.

PAB: No, you are wrong.

KA: Did you go to Baku with YF?

PAB: Yes.

KA: Did you go to Baku with someone else who is linked to Electrogas? Did you go with Turab [Musayev] to Azerbaijan?

PAB: I was invited for his wedding in Baku.

KA: Who else was invited?

PAB: I went with Yorgen Fenech but I was not privy to the invitation list… it was a big wedding.

KA: Who else was there from Malta?

PAB: It was a very big wedding. There was Yorgen Fenech’s wife…

KA: You used to go to Baku every year?

PAB: I invoke my right to silence because it is unrelated to Electrogas.

*****

In another animated exchange, Aquilina kept asking Apap Bologna whether he was present for meetings about Electrogas that were held at the Office of the Prime Minister.

The Electrogas shareholder could not remember any meetings apart from one with the state aid board after the tender was awarded.

“It was a big meeting. I don’t think the prime minister [Joseph Muscat] was present and I don’t remember whether Keith Schembri was there. Yorgen Fenech was there with me but there were a lot of people from the state aid board and other Electrogas representatives,” Apap Bologna replied to a number of questions on who was present for the meeting.

Aquilina then asked about Apap Bologna’s resignation from director of Electrogas on 12 May 2021 but the witness invoked his right to silence after a heated exchange between his lawyer and Aquilina.

Apap Bologna insisted that a question as to whether he was asked to resign was outside the terms of reference of the committee, going as far as describing it an “abusive question”.

He would not say whether he wrote a letter of resignation, or whether a board of directors meeting was held to discuss his resignation.

Aquilina then remarked that three days earlier, The Sunday Times of Malta had published a story revealing that Apap Bologna owned the company Kittiwake based in the United Arab Emirates. “Did your position as director become untenable because you hid your ownership of Kittiwake?”

Apap Bologna refused to reply: “I avail myself of my right to silence.”

Earlier, Apap Bologna said that the Maltese partners in Electrogas had agreed to pass on €2.5 million to Yorgen Fenech’s company, New Energy Supplies, as payment for his services to front the project.

Apap Bologna said that eventually only €1 million were paid from the success fees due to the Maltese partners when the project got going.

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