Former Electrogas director Paul Apap Bologna has refused to answer questions put to him by Parliament’s public accounts committee about his resignation from the EGM Holding Limited – the company that owns all the shares in Electrogas Malta.
Apap Bologna appeared before the committee once again today as it continues to discuss the findings of an Auditor General investigation into the Electrogas deal.
Apap Bologna resigned his directorship of both Electrogas Malta Limited and it’s shareholding company EGM Holding Limited earlier this year. His resignation coincided with the revelation that he was the owner of a secret Dubai-based company, Kittiwake.
The company, the existence of which was revealed by the Times of Malta, has been described as being identical to that owned by Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.
The sitting was again dominated by arguments between government and Opposition representatives on the committee, as well as lawyer Gianella De Marco, about whether questions put to Apap Bologna were in line with the committee’s mandate.
Apap Bologna was advised not to reply to questions regarding whether he was forced to resign his directorship since his position had become untenable after it was revealed that he was the owner of a secret offshore company. He similarly did not answer when asked what his present relationship with the company was.
Apap Bologna denied attending any meetings at the office of the Prime Minister, saying that had only ever attended one meeting about issues related to state aid at which “everyone was present”.
Asked whether he had ever been to Baku, Azerbaijan, Apap Bologna said that he had, but added that it had nothing to do with the Electrogas project. He eventually stated to the committee that he had attended the wedding of SOCAR’s Turab Musayev.
Gianella De Marco accuses Karol Aquilina of bullying
At one point during the proceedings, Apap Bologna’s lawyer Gianella De Marco locked horns with Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina after he tried to stop the lawyer from addressing the board on behalf of Apap Bologna.
“You’re almost trying to bully me. Do you think I’m going to let you bully me?” Aquilina told De Marco as proceedings started to heat up.
“I am not going to be bullied by you,” the lawyer replied angrily. “I am not here trying to gain political mileage and uploading things to Facebook.”
She insisted that she was there to safeguard her client’s rights and that she was empowered to do so by Parliament’s standing orders.
Committee chairman Beppe Fenech Adami, reading from Parliament’s standard orders, insisted that the only people who may object to any questions were other members of the committee.
“Have a look at standing order 16 and 21 please,” De Marco countered, pointing to standing orders which give lawyers the power to respond on behalf of their clients about legal points as well as the power to question the relevance of certain questions.
The exchange was one of many that occurred throughout the sitting, the majority of which was spent discussing whether questions were relevant rather than hearing replies from the witness.
In addition to challenges by De Marco, government MPs were also quick to object to the other side of the committee’s line of questioning on many occasions.
What did you make of today’s sitting?