Paul Apap Bologna, a key Electrogas shareholder and director, was appointed to the Planning Authority board despite having zero experience in the role.
Speaking in the public inquiry into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Apap Bologna confirmed that he was approached by then-Parliamentary Secretary for Planning Michael Farrugia to take on the role.
Under questioning from parte civile lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia, Apap Bologna confirmed he had no experience in planning issues. He said he took up the role because he believed he could learn on the job.
“It was a new experience for me,” he said.
Apap Bologna put his time on the board to good use, voting in favour of approving a proposal to include Mriehel as high-rise zone. The Quad Towers, which is owned by Fenech’s Tumas Group and the Gasan Group, both of whom are part of the Electrogas consortium, was eventually built in the area.
Apap Bologna is also related to the Gasans through his wife, who is a shareholder in Gasan Group.
While serving as Parliamentary Secretary for Planning in 2014, Farrugia had sent an email to the Planning Authority CEO to consider Mrieħel “as an appropriate location for tall buildings with the intention to create a strategic employment node”.
The email came just hours after a half-hour meeting with Tumas Group businessman and main suspect in the assassination Yorgen Fenech.
The decision paved the way for Fenech’s Tumas Group and Gasan to file an application for a development known as the ‘quad towers’. The application for the project was submitted a few months after the meeting.
Farrugia was appointed as the Energy Minister in Prime Minister Robert Abela’s cabinet in January 2020. He is now the minister directly responsible for the Electrogas deal.
His links to Fenech do not stop there. He was also serving as Family Minister when a government-owned company within the ministry provided a phantom job to middleman-turned-state-witness Melvin Theuma soon after he sorted out the initial deposit for the hired killers.
Farrugia has denied all wrongdoing. However, it seems he could be paying the political price in the coming days with sources saying Miriam Dalli could replace him as Energy Minister.
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