PN takes government to task over Auditor General’s annual report

Shadow ministers say NAO annual report is replete with cases of abusive spending and maladministration

File photo: Marthese Portelli (Photo Ray Attard)
File photo: Marthese Portelli (Photo Ray Attard)
Shadow EU affairs minister Roberta Metsola and shadow environment minister Marthese Portelli
Shadow EU affairs minister Roberta Metsola and shadow environment minister Marthese Portelli

The Prime Minister should “walk the talk” and address gross shortcomings in the country’s administration that were revealed in the Auditor General’s annual report for 2014, the PN said.

Speaking at a press conference earlier today, MEP Roberta Metsola and MP Marthese Portelli said that the NAO report had revealed a lack of serious administration, a lack of transparency, abuse in government spending, maladministration and breaches in public procurement.

“No country, person o politician can turn a blind eye to the conclusions made on the Auditor General report,” she said quoting a speech by Muscat in 2010 and urging him to follow through and shoulder responsibility for the damning conclusions of the report issued some days before Christmas.

Calling the 300 page report “voluminous”, Metsola said that the PN had decided to dedicate a series of press conferences to look at the various conclusions.

“This government has made irresponsible use of public funds, without taking into account those who need it the most,” she said,

Making particular reference to the energy ministry, Portelli said that amongst the findings, energy minister Konrad Mizzi had employed a legal consultant by direct order at an hourly rate that reached €260,000 annually – something she described as “40 times the minimum wage”.

Portelli also claimed that direct orders were limited to €120,000 for particular energy ministry procurement.

She added that the report had revealed four irregularities including a lack of compliance with public procurement regulations and shortcomings in overtime payments, direct orders as well as airline ticket purchases.

She also referred to a €29,000 trip to China which the NAO said was not backed up by an explanation as to why this trip was carried out, as per government circulars.

“This government has lowered all political standards and is losing all sense of ethics and political correctness,” Metsola said.