One week after disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi took the oath of office as a member of Joseph Muscat’s Cabinet, his childhood friend David Galea was put on a €600 a day contract to provide ‘general consulting’ to Enemalta, documents acquired by The Shift show.
A raft of invoices sent by Galea to various government entities, mostly under Mizzi’s political remit, show that at the time his friend was minister, Galea and his firm – Beat Ltd – were paid €1.5 million in ‘professional fees’ from State coffers.
Hundreds of invoices analysed by The Shift show that Galea and Beat Ltd were involved in all the tainted projects connected to the Muscat-Schembri-Mizzi trio, from the gas power plant to the €2 billion contract granted to an unknown company to take over three public hospitals.
Mizzi, now being probed by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and still under police investigation, told MPs last week that he could not recall how he had befriended Galea and insisted that he did not know who had commissioned his services for various government jobs he was leading.
During another hearing on Tuesday, Mizzi stuck to the same line of defence. He deflected questions about Galea by stating that he was only obliged to answer questions related to the report by the National Audit Office.
Documents show that on 21 March 2013, just eight days after Mizzi was made energy minister, Galea was given a contract by Enemalta as a general consultant for €600 a day.
The contract was given through a direct order. Surprisingly, this was written by Galea himself, stipulating the terms of payment, the number of hours and a non-exclusivity clause allowing him to work for other clients while providing his services to the energy provider.
Enemalta sources confirmed to The Shift that Galea’s contract was awarded on Mizzi’s direct instructions.
The contract guaranteed that Galea was to pilot all the necessary work leading to the multi-million euro gas-fired power plant and that he would be paid a minimum of €12,000 a month.
These payments started being rolled out from March 2013 – Labour’s first two weeks in government – and continued for years.
The invoices sent by Beat Ltd show a clear pattern in which Galea was involved in all of Mizzi’s ‘missions’ and multi-million euro deals. This was confirmed in a report by the Auditor General.
In September 2015, Galea was engaged directly by Projects Malta (now Malta Strategic Partnership Projects), also under Mizzi’s remit, to oversee the drafting, issue of expression of interest and negotiations on the hospitals’ project. Beat Ltd was paid another €252,000 in consultancy fees on this deal until April 2017.
In August 2017, just a few weeks after the last election, when Mizzi became tourism minister responsible for Air Malta, Galea was tasked by the ministry and Air Malta to work on the restructuring of the national airline and paid some €60,000 in just a few months.
The restructuring process failed miserably, and the national airline is now facing bankruptcy.
Mizzi’s consultant was also tasked with providing his services in other unrelated areas, including the provision of childcare facilities by Malta Industrial Parks, the change of management at the Water Services Corporation, the relocation of the ITS campus project to Smart City that never occurred and the reform of the health sector. All these assignments to Galea occurred when Mizzi was responsible for these sectors.
At the time, Beat Ltd roped in a new shareholder – Philip Tabone – whose main area of business was the provision of construction materials.
Invoices show that when Tabone’s son, Anthony, was Malta’s consul for Dubai under the direction of Malta Enterprise, Beat Ltd received well-paid assignments from the economy ministry and Malta Enterprise when Chris Cardona was at the helm.
Between 2015 and 2019, Beat Ltd charged Cardona’s ministry a total of €381,000 in fees including a tender it had won to provide an e-registration system for businesses.
The Shift recently revealed that soon after Mizzi was kicked out of the Labour Party parliamentary group, Philip Tabone transferred all his shareholding in Beat Ltd to David Galea.
It is not known whether ongoing police investigations also concern possible links between payments made to Beat Ltd, Galea and entities under the direct control of Mizzi and Cardona.