PL Minister Clayton Bartolo was caught passing on a rough draft of his questions to economist Gordon Cordina, before he was to testify in front of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday.
The witness, Cordina, said that he had received a message and an attached document with a list of questions from Clayton Bartolo, who sits on the committee, which were indicative of what was to be asked in the session.
Cordina revealed this when at the end of the committee meeting on Tuesday, PAC chairman and PN MP Darren Carabott asked him whether he had received any questions in advance.
Carabott asked that the text message and the attached document with the questions be exhibited to the committee.
Tuesday’s PAC meeting focused on a 2011 study analyzing the use of diesel, gas and heavy fuel oil, conducted by Cordina. Cordina, also the chairman of Bank of Valletta, said that Enemalta is a direct client of his consultancy firm E-Cubed.
Enemalta had given Cordina a brief to look at the different choices the Maltese government had at hand to power a new energy station in 2011. The study involved an analysis of the financial costs of operating the power station with different types of fuel.
Upon comparing the expenses of using heavy fuel oil compared to gas oil, and compared to the cost of converting the power station to use LNG, the study had concluded that heavy fuel oil was ideal short-term, being slightly cheaper than LNG.
Cordina said that it was the global tendency to use heavy fuel oil back then, just as it is the tendency to build for renewables now. He had, however, recommended that government consider developing infrastructure for LNG when it became feasible to do so.
After Carabott said, generally, that vulnerabilities in different areas of the local electricity supply gives Malta a competitive disadvantage, Cordina said that the country’s competitiveness is sensitive to energy, making it such a sensitive element, and that the context of this disadvantage must be taken into consideration.
Cordina said that businesses want to plan their energy costs in advance and plan out their business strategy in Malta. He said that electricity affects the production of many goods and services produced by consumers.