'High fuel prices due to Mizzi's Enemalta interference' - Busuttil

Energy Minister's orders for Enemalta to hedge fuel with SOCAR the reason fuel prices were so high, Opposition leader claims 

PN leader Simon Busuttil
PN leader Simon Busuttil
Simon Busuttil 'Oil scandal bears Konrad Mizzi's name'.

Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi's direct involvement into Enemalta's fuel hedging was the reason fuel prices were so high, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil claimed.

A “ministerial direction” to include Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR in Enemalta’s list of suppliers, has been flagged the Auditor General, who described a direct order on six months’ hedging on unleaded and diesel as “detracting from the process’s accountability and a shortcoming in terms of governance.”

"Mizzi's direct interference meant that Enemalta lost €14 million," Busuttil said, citing the Auditor General’s report. "The people paid for this loss by having to pay much higher fuel prices than they should have.”

The AG’s report said that, during 2014, Enemalta registered a €8.6 million loss with respect to crude oil hedging and a €5.5 million loss with respect to unleaded petrol and diesel hedging- a total of €14.1 million.

It also pointed out that the drastic crash in crude oil prices at the end of 2014 was central to Enemalta’s hedging losses and that “such significant market movements were not and could not have been anticipated when the hedging agreements were entered into”.

On the other hand, Enemalta registered a gain of €5.5 million in terms of foreign exchange hedge undertaken for fuel oil and gasoil and an additional €2.5 million gain from exchange hedges entered into with respect to unleaded petrol and diesel requirements.

Mizzi said earlier today that his "ministerial interference” was limited to directions to Enemalta to keep fuel prices stable and to broaden their fuel supply chain.

“Enemalta’s advisory committee negotiated and closed transactions according to the targets they set,” Mizzi said. “All I did was recommend they include SOCAR in their suppliers’ list.”

However, Busuttil dismissed Mizzi's claims.

"We have to stop believing whatever Mizzi says as though he's an oracle," he said. "How can you believe him when the Auditor Generals report says something opposite? Konrad Mizzi has become the oil scandal."

He said that Mizzi's interference raised further suspicions in light of his and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat's recent state visit to Azerbaijan, to which no journalists or public officers were invited.

"Muscat's dangerous leadership style involves the direct interference of ministers into affairs that should be carried out by institutions, non-transparency, and a strong smell of corruption."

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