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News | Wednesday, 19 May 2010 Issue. 164

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Former Enemalta CEO David Spiteri Gingell speaks out about his clash with Austin Gatt, while shouldering responsibility for not vetting Lahmeyer International:
‘I was the chairman. Responsibility starts and stops with me. That is the way accountability works in my mind’

Former Enemalta chief executive officer David Spiteri Gingell revealed that he had resigned his post in June 2008 as he “could not contribute as well as [he] could under the regime being imposed and I felt I had no option but to leave.”
Speaking to MaltaToday just hours after admitting on PBS his “mistake” by appointing Lahmeyer International, blacklisted by the World Bank, as consultants to the Delimara power station extension project without conducting any due diligence, Spiteri Gingell revealed how “different views with the ministry of where responsibility and authority for line management would lie” led to his departure. PAGE 1
He said that he was asked by the Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications ministry (MITC) and the Enemalta Chairman to complete, following resignation, three assignments: the adjudication of the smart meters contract with IBM; the adjudication of the 150MW plant and complete negotiations with GWU on a side agreement with the aviation section.
“I was asked because there was concern that these three strategic initiatives would be derailed until a new CEO was appointed. Unfortunately I accepted…” Spiteri Gingell said.
The former Enemalta CEO’s tenure of the adjudication committee for the power station extension terminated on 4 April, 2009 when he presented the recommendations for adjudication.
“Had I still been responsible for the committee I would have resigned from chairing the committee when the news on Lahmeyer broke out,” he stressed, adding that he also resigned from chairing the adjudicating committee of the submarine interconnector cable “at the first instance I could do so.”
Specifically on Lahmeyer International’s selection, David Spiteri Gingell said that: “We (Enemalta) issued a direct call for quotations to three firms. Lahmeyer were the cheapest. They had a major contract with the Malta Resources Authority and I had dealt with them in my capacity as CEO of Enemalta where they were working with MRA on a generation plan for the island.”
“I assumed that MRA had done a due diligence. I got it wrong. I only knew about their blacklisting when the news broke out in Malta.”
Asked if he felt whether somebody else should shoulder the same responsibility, Spiteri Gingell replied: “I was the chairman. Responsibility starts and stops with me. That is the way accountability works in my mind.”
Spiteri Gingell also admitted that in hindsight he should have “never accepted to continue chairing the committee once I resigned as CEO of the corporation.”
Questioned over the risks of the prototype plant to be installed by Danish firm BWSC and the risk of exceeding emission levels when the plant will work on heavy fuel oil, Spiteri Gingell defended his choice by saying the corporation reserved the right to reject the plant should it pollute more than expected.
“We went for the maximum sanction. I don’t expect everybody to agree with me, but I was of the opinion that our best safeguard is the rejection of the plant on commissioning if it did not meet the greenhouse gases and pollutants standards.”
Spiteri Gingell said this would have been “far more effective than penalties as no international firm seeks such a position where a plant is rejected. I call it the ‘nuclear option’: that is the weapon of last resort and in my mind more powerful than penalties.”
He stressed that the “BWSC plant would continue to work on gasoil (diesel) until such time work is carried out – should the need arise – by the plant builder to make the necessary corrections, without prejudicing our rights for compensation.”



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