Electrogas Replies On 17 Black, Says Tumas Group Role Is Safe

“We believe the amount of scrutiny that this project has received is unprecedented"

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Left: Electrogas CEO Franz Doerfler, Right: Tumas Group CEO Yorgen Fenech

Electrogas will not assess the role of the Tumas Group in the power station consortium, despite its CEO Yorgen Fenech being named as the owner of the Dubai company 17 Black.

Asked by Lovin Malta whether it will re-assess GEM Holdings’ role in the consortium in light of the revelations, Electrogas’ CEO Franz Doerfler responded with a “no”.

GEM Holdings is owned by the Tumas and Gasan groups, as well as by pharmaceutical importer Paul Apap Bologna. It is one of three equal partners in the Electrogas consortium which operates the LNG power station in Delimara, along with Azerbaijan’s state-owned energy company Socar and German manufacturing giant Siemens.

Doefler reiterated that Electrogas never had any relationship with 17 Black and that it wasn’t informed of Fenech’s ownership of it until it was published last Friday by The Times of Malta and Reuters.

Keith Konrad

Fenech’s ownership of 17 Black is the fourth link between Konrad Mizzi’s and Keith Schembri’s Panama companies and the LNG power station. Leaked documents from the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) had already shown how 17 Black had received €161,000 from Mario Pullicino, the local agent for the tanker supplying gas to the LNG power station, and two separate payments amounting to €1.1 million from an Azeri security guard.

It remains unknown how the security guard had come in possession of such a large sum of money or why he had given it to Yorgen Fenech. A spokesman for Socar said the company had no links or knowledge of the man.

Brian Tonna, whose firm Nexia BT set up the two Panama companies, and three of his employees had also sat on the Enemalta committee which selected Electrogas to run the power station.

Asked how he can assure the public that the power station isn’t compromised by corruption, Doerfler argued that the amount of scrutiny that the project has already received is “unprecedented”.

“ElectroGas Malta has always welcomed public scrutiny,” he said. “We appreciate this is a project of national importance and are committed to engage whenever possible.”

“We believe the amount of scrutiny that this project has received is unprecedented. We are also aware of a current review being carried out by the Auditor General and we eagerly await the results of this review which we are of course confident will shed a further positive assessment on the project and the process.”

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Tim Diacono

Tim Diacono tends to clam up when asked to describe himself. You can contact him on [email protected]