Nexia BT, the company subjected to the court freezing order following investigations of corruption and money laundering, was awarded over €65,000 in direct orders from the Water Services Corporation, according to information published in the Government Gazette.
The direct orders were given to Brian Tonna’s company between July 2019 and June of this year. Three months later, the company would face directives from the MFSA, the Accountancy Board and the Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency suspending its licence to sell passports after the asset freeze.
The accountancy firm was awarded the first €5,500 for a revised financial statement at a department within the corporation. It was then awarded €50,000 for auditing services carried out for the year 2018. Another €10,000 was handed to the company for audit systems of ARMS, the entity that manages utility bills.
Nexia BT name made headlines after it was revealed the firm had set up offshore companies for the former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and former Minister Konrad Mizzi, which was revealed in the Panama Papers in 2016.
Authorities have faced criticism since then for the lack of sanctions against the companies and the continued drive to give the firm business following the scandal.
The Shift had carried out a detailed analysis revealing how Nexia BT and its subsidiaries made €2.4 million through tenders and direct orders given in a period of just over four years.
The dishing out of taxpayers’ money through these direct orders was frequently mentioned during the public inquiry looking into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Projects Malta, that fell under Mizzi, was one of the entities that handed out a number of direct orders to companies like Nexia BT and Beat Ltd.
When The Shift asked the FIAU if it had taken any action to investigate Nexia BT in the years in which findings were made public on its links to corrupt deals, such as Streamcast, the FIAU said it does not disclose information on its work.
In the lead up to Moneyval, there has been a surge in the scrutiny of companies and penalties by the FIAU, yet Nexia BT never made the list over the years.