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MaltaToday 8 December 2021 MIDWEEK

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2 NEWS maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 8 DECEMBER 2021 2 NEWS Caruana Galizias call on EU presidency to deny Malta 'corrupt' pipeline funds CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The sons and husband of Caru- ana Galizia, assassinated in Oc- tober 2017 by a car bomb, said the public funds for the €400 million Melite hydrogen-ready pipeline between Malta and Sic- ily, would also be flowing "to the owners of a corrupt project" – the operators and gas suppliers of the Delimara plant, Electrogas. They said Malta's implementa- tion of a gas pipeline would also trigger a €100 million pay-out to Electrogas. Electrogas shareholder Yorgen Fenech, the Tumas magnate, is charged with having mas- terminded the assassination of Caruana Galizia. Malta recently obtained a der- ogation in 2020 to have its gas pipeline, recently refused funds from the Connecting Europe Fa- cility for the pipeline's depend- ence on fossil fuel, to be recon- sidered for funding by converting it into a hydrogen-ready pipeline. "We are informed that this derogation is supported by the Slovenian Presidency of the Council. If this exemption from new rules aimed at phasing out EU subsidies for fossil fuel pro- jects stands, the €400m Melita pipeline project to transport gas from Gela in Sicily to the Elec- trogas power station in Delima- ra, Malta, could be built using EU funds," the Caruana Galizias said in their 3 December letter. Caruana Galizia had identified a secret company used by Fenech, 17 Black, revealed after her death to have been an offshore compa- ny to funnel millions of euros in- to secret offshore companies set up in Panama and owned by the former prime minister's right- hand man, Keith Schembri. A public inquiry into the cir- cumstances of Caruana Galizia's assassination said the journalist knew that Electrogas was on the verge of bankruptcy and that it was probable that if Fenech was revealed with certainty as the owner of 17 Black, the govern- ment would have been unable to provide a surety for Electrogas. "In summary: Malta's agree- ments with Electrogas were pro- cured by a corruption scheme. The extended surety to Electro- gas, saving it from bankruptcy, was procured by murder," the family said. "By this principle, we have called on the Maltese govern- ment to rescind all agreements with Electrogas, hold its share- holders liable for costs and put the country on a path away from fossil fuels. Until it does so, every time Daphne's mother turns on a light in Malta, she is funding the person accused of her own daughter's murder." Electrogas's gas power plant is the sole user of gas imported through this planned pipeline as things stand in Malta. Accord- ing to the terms of Malta's 2017 conversion term agreement with Electrogas – namely a schedule on compensation amounts and GSA exit price – the pipeline will trigger a huge cash payout of over €100 million to the share- holders. "Sending a message that cor- ruption is rewarded will make our situation many times worse than it already is, and for no public benefit whatsoever – not that any would justify rewarding someone accused of murder, as well as rewarding the corpora- tions that benefited from murder and corruption," the Caruana Galizias said. "We call on you to do the right thing. Do not reward murder. Do not reward corruption. Do not support the derogation for the Melita pipeline. Instead, honour Daphne for her sacrifice, and honour EU values of justice and freedom from corruption, by supporting its removal." KARL AZZOPARDI TRANSPORT Malta advised that starting from Tuesday, all practical driving tests are post- poned until further notice, fol- lowing a COVID-19 outbreak. In a statement TM said that the decision was taken as a precautionary measure, in order in order to align with guidelines issued by Health Authorities. A spokesperson for TM has however disclosed that a COVID-19 outbreak lead to this decision. COVID-19 cases have been on the rise recently in Malta, following a drastic spike in cases all over Europe. Hos- pitalisations and deaths have however remained stable for the time being. The Omicron variant is cur- rently causing worldwide "concern" all over the world, although scientists are still trying to determine whether the current vaccines are effec- tive against it. No new nation-wide restric- itons have been issued by the health authorities, a spokes- person for the Health Ministry confirmed. Transport Malta apologised for any inconvenience caused by issues and circumstances beyond its control. "The Authority will be closely monitoring the situation and shall inform the general public when services are to return to normal," TM stated. Driving tests postponed indefinitely following COVID-19 outbreak at Transport Malta MALTA registered 86 new cas- es of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours and 62 recoveries, bring- ing the active cases in the com- munity to 1,337. Information released by the Health Ministry shows that hospitalisations have remained stable with 22 patients receiving treatment at Mater Dei Hospital. Three of these patients are re- ceiving care at the ITU. No deaths were registered over the past 24 hours leaving the to- tal number of COVID victims since the start of the pandemic at 468. COVID-19 vaccine booster doses administered so far have reached 137,747. COVID-19: 86 new cases, hospitalisations remain stable

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