Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Time to be both honourable and accountable

Both gone leaving
Tonio Fenech to carry
Enemalta's PN cross.

Former Finance Minister Tonio Fenech wrote an op-ed in the last Sunday Times which must be considered as an epic in local political journalism.

Sunday Times 21-07.2013 _tonio Fenech_time to be honourable

In his article ex Minister Fenech  makes a colossal admission which is rare in politics.  Let me quote verbatim:

The NAO report findings on how records of fuel procurement meetings were kept in the period 2008 to 2010 are indeed serious. As a person coming from the auditing profession I would say very serious indeed considering what was at stake and the amount of money the corporation spends on fuel procurement.

One must give Tonio Fenech his due and duly acknowledge that once he was tasked with responsibility for Enemalta, there was a quantum leap in governance standards within the Corporation as duly acknowledged in the Auditor General findings.
However, having admitted that he inherited as very serious situation from ex Minister Austin Gatt,  there are obvious questions which  Tonio Fenech needs to answer.  Let us grant him that he really took steps to fix a very bad and scandalous situation.    But is that enough?

When a new manager moves in and finds hanky panky should he be satisfied with  sorting it out to ensure proper standards going forward or should he put on his accountability hat and see why, how, who, since when were things in such a desperate state.

In case of ex-Minister Fenech this assumes added importance as he was also the Minister of Finance.  He was the Minister responsible for our national debt, both that recorded as well as that contingent through guarantees issued by his Ministry in particular to cover the debts of Enemalta with the banking sector.

So whilst understanding his demands for others to act honourably in his regard,  how about his explaining to us why he did not keep proper accountability standards in demanding from his predecessor, from the Prime Minister and from the whole Cabinet explanation of the 'very serious' situation that he found at Enemalta.   Why did he not do  what Minister Mizzi has just done and call in the police, rather just replace the Chairman.

After all ex - Minister Fenech voted his confidence in ex-Minister Austin Gatt when a vote of no-confidence was brought to parliament.  In so doing he automatically wore the mantel of his predecessor's responsibility.

Enemalta is taghna lkoll.   Unfortunately its debts are also taghna lkoll thanks to the very serious situation which Minister Fenech took over without demanding accountability.

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