Gonzi Cabinet paid €5 million court settlement to Shell, days after oil scandal

Nationalist administration reached court settlement with Shell over uncompetitive practice by Enemalta.

Shell complained that it was not being granted access to the supply of jet aviation fuel.
Shell complained that it was not being granted access to the supply of jet aviation fuel.

Lawrence Gonzi's Cabinet agreed to a tax-free, €5 million out-of-court settlement with oil company Shell, just days after MaltaToday published documents that showed that commodities trader Trafigura had paid commissions to Enemalta consultant and former MOBC chief executive Frank Sammut for the supply of oil to the national energy corporation.

The settlement came nine years after complaints made by oil company Shell in 2004, leading the European Commission to issue a warning to the Nationalist administration in 2011 that it was "not ensuring independent verification of the separation" of fuel handling and storage facilities, while Enemalta - one of the suppliers of fuel handling services - was the manager of the storage and fuel supply facilities.

Shell had complained in 2004 that aviation fuel was supplied by the state-owned company, which also owned the storage facilities of oil, which included the Mediterranean Oil Bunkering Corporation (MOBC).

Following the liberalisation of the fuel market, Shell attempted to distribute fuel but claimed that Enemalta had prevented it from doing this through "uncompetitive measures".

Ironically Shell's complaint to the Malta Resources Authority came through the offices of Simon Busuttil, then a Nationalist MEP and a lawyer specialising in European Union law.

In 2004, Busuttil wrote to the Malta Resources Authority informing them: "Enemalta and the Maltese government are bound by law to ensure that the management of these infrastructures is transparent, objective, non-discriminatory and, in particular, that it does hinder the access of suppliers of ground handling services."

Needless to say, Busuttil was not aware at the time of the corruption taking place inside Enemalta, facts that would only emerge nine years later when police started investigating the kickbacks paid to Enemalta officials through oil representative George Farrugia, who was then representing Trafigura and Total. And of course the minister at the time, Austin Gatt, found it quite pointless to follow up Busuttil's concerns.

The Malta Resources Authority meekly directed the parties "to negotiate in good faith to arrive at a mutually agreeable fair cost-based charge for the services in question within four weeks".

Shell once again appealed to the MRA's appeals board, which decided that the decision by the MRA was null and void and that it should review Shell's original complaint.

But the Authority and government failed to act on the appeals board's decision, and Shell commenced legal procedures. It was only in January 2013 that the Gonzi cabinet chose to mitigate the legal repercussions by forking out a €5 million tax-free settlement.

Shell had been a household name in the early 1970s, together with Esso and BP. It all ended with Dom Mintoff's nationalisation drive but the plurality of fuel suppliers still failed to make inroads after Malta's entry into the EU.

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Can Simon Busuttil tell us what fees he was paid after this 5 Million contribution was paid? I bet Malta Today can investigate this and see if it was his word which gave the go ahead to settle this out of court. And what could have been the result if this was settled within courts? would have we paid less? I hope who is responsable from this sector investigates more into this story and let the people know!!!!!!!!!!!!! Justice must be made with all !!!!!!!
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TAL -MISTHIJA KIF FL-AHBARIJIET TAL-PBS news Jissemma tal €5miljuN kumpens li SHELL bal ma issemma li l'Avukat tas-Shell kien Simon BUSUTTIL! Dawn x'BUZULLOTTI huma? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dan kif dan SIMON BUSUTTIL , MEP MALTI jkun l'Avukat ta' kumapanija li ghandha kwza kontra il-Gvern Malti? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ U kif ma fealhx jistenna biex din is-somma ta' €5 miljun lis-Shell giet mifthema qabel l'elezzjoni? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ U KIEKU KIEN AVUKAT IEHOR FLOK Simon Busuttil kienu jiehdu il-€5 milljun ewro mit-TAXXI TIEGHI U TIEGHEK????
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There goes the dastardly MRA again! Can't these imzazen get anything right? Which GonziPN supremo appointed them anyway? Or where they all appointed on trust by the PM, or on recommendation by party acolytes? Once more, as reported, sheepishly (or whatever?, who knows the real truth in full,) neglecting its legal duties and enacted obligations. Will the Maltese taxpayer have a right of redress against the MRA's Board of directors, CEO and senior technical personnel that proffered their professional opinions on this matter, but completely failed to take action until it was too late? Or this posse of employees, for this mouse of regulator, have been paid all these years fabulous salaries, plentiful perks and free travel, all housed within their haloed luxury accommodation ALL FOR NOUGH as far as the citizen goes? When will either Mizzi, or better, both Mizzis' take up the challenge on behalf of the long suffering Maltese citizen, voter and taxpayer? I would imagine I would ask Konrad, as Joe would surely have his hands full discovering JUST WHO HELD BACK Malta's oil exploration efforts and anything sinister behind this modus operandi by the Oil exploration(sic)capi.
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The real basic facts are the following - Simon Busuttil was elected as a REPRESENTATIVE of the people of Malta and the Government Malta in Europe's parliament; Simon Busuttil was also the legal representative of Shell in Malta. So, wearing his Shell hat, Busuttil took legal action for Shell AGAINST the people and Government he was elected to REPRESENT - and the reason for the legal action - alleged irregularities in Malta's procurement of oil and oil dealings! This is tantamount to a lawyer representing a client in Court but simultaneously taking legal action on behalf of a litigating client against his own client. This is an astoundingly unbelievable conflict of interest, eventually settled out of Court after the oil corruption scandal was revealed by Malta Today and a few weeks before the election. Yet, throughout the electoral campaign Simon Busuttil led everybody to believe that as he was "new" he had nothing to do with the oil saga - having years ago initiated legal action for alleged "irregularities". Now, this self-same candidate is aspiring to be voted leader of the PN! Which os his multiple hats does he intend to don? ALBERT FENECH
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When was this payment made ? Was it while the previous government was in "care taker" mode or before.
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So we probably had to pay more for the flights (becuase of higher fuel surcharge), pay the tangenti to trafgura and co., now we have to pay again for the settlement. Anyone accountable?
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So we probably had to pay more for the flights (becuase of higher fuel surcharge), pay the tangenti to trafgura and co., now we have to pay again for the settlement. Anyone accountable?
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GonziPN disposed of tax money as if it was his own money. This is unfair. While people got rich, we were becoming poorer. I would like lynching laws to be re-introduced in this country.
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The F*** they paid €5 million ... WE PAID €5 million to the company represented by Dr Simon Busuttil, that is OUR money so we want to know more about all this!!!

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