Karl Cini does not exclude current money laundering charges could include Electrogas

Cini invokes his right to silence yet again in the public accounts committee arguing that his ongoing criminal proceedings may or may not included Electrogas activity

Karl Cini, partner of now-defunct Nexia BT, does not exclude that money laundering charges against him could include his work in the Electrogas tender process.

Cini appeared before parliament’s public accounts committee on Tuesday. The committee is examining the Auditor General’s report on the contracts awarded to Electrogas to build and operate a new power station.

Cini again invoked his right to silence during the hearing, with his lawyer Stephen Tonna Lowell arguing that he is currently facing money laundering charges that span from 2005 to 2019.

Since the prosecution did not define the predicate offence in the charges against Cini, his lawyer said that he cannot fully exclude that the proceedings include his client’s work on the Electrogas project.

Committee chairman Darren Carabott insisted that the members of the committee have a right to ask him questions regardless, and Cini can only exercise his right to silence if the criminal investigations directly relate to the subject being investigated.

Again, Tonna Lowell insisted that there are criminal investigations underway against Cini and his is a formal suspect in an inquiry.  

“We insist that none of the questions are incriminating, and that’s why we’re insisting not on the right not to incriminate oneself but rather the right to silence,” Tonna Lowell said.

Carabott insisted that he will raise this issue with the Speaker of the House again since Cini did not answer any questions and did not specify exactly whether the criminal investigations include the subject matter being investigated by the Committee.

The hearing was adjourned until a ruling is given by the Speaker.

Earlier in the sitting, the Opposition MPs on the committee said that it wanted to put some questions to Enemalta after the tanker supplying LNG to the Electrogas power plant had to pull away from its jetty.

The MPs wanted to clarify whether this was taken as a precaution and what alternative sources of energy is available whenever the tanker is detached.

But the Labour MPs completely disagreed with sending such questions as a committee, and instead told the Opposition to submit PQs on the issue.

Nationalist MP David Agius said that the committee should not set a precedent and restrain the committee from asking certain questions.

PN MP Graham Bencini added that the questions are relevant for the committee because the Auditor General’s report mentions onshore and offshore gas supplies.