The Auditor General was right to look into whether Brian Tonna was the auditor for the company owned by the Tumas, the Gasan and the Apap Bologna groups at the same time as he awarded the consortium they belonged to the power station contract.
GEM (the company held by the Fenechs, Gasans and Apap Bolognas) produced engagement letters that showed they engaged Brian Tonna after he awarded them the power station contract.
The auditor is an auditor. He can ask for explanations and then he reports what he gets. And if he’s not happy with the answers he can use remarks like “we have reservations” which is auditor-speak for ‘this is rotten’.
But the auditor is not a policeman. He cannot investigate to see if GEM are actually lying to him about the date of engagement of Brian Tonna.
And nor is the auditor a person making a legal judgement. After all corruption is not measured by the time compensation is paid but by the time compensation is promised. He is not evaluating when GEM agreed to pay a retainer to the person awarding them a public contract. He asked to see when they started paying that retainer, which is all he can check.
And nor is the auditor a prime minister or a parliament making a political judgement on public expenditure. Because if he was he’d need to bring in other considerations.
For example, even if Brian Tonna was not yet rewarded with a retainer by the company he selected for the award of the power-station contract, we know that as he was sitting on that adjudication board he was setting up the Panama companies for Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi. And he was also setting up Egrant.
Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri chose their accountant who set up their secret Panama companies to be the person to choose the power-station suppliers.
Remember that the Panama companies were set up those first days of the 2013 government. Remember also that the auditor has determined that Enemalta’s decision to contract energy the way it did, taken as it was in those very first early days of Labour, must have been decided outside Enemalta.
And remember of course that the Panama companies Brian Tonna set up were to receive money from a company owned by Yorgen Fenech, for whom Brian Tonna would become the auditor.
And remember that the commitment for Yorgen Fenech’s company to pay Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi’s companies was a document written by Brian Tonna’s firm.
This is no great discovery. We’ve known for two years that Brian Tonna was the chief architect of the structures built in order to structure and cover up the corruption of Joseph Muscat’s government.
And yet, he’s still there. Laughing.