Activists have launched a court application demanding for a criminal inquiry that focuses on the three ministers involved in the controversial €2.1 billion concession granting Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) control over Malta’s three state hospitals.
Repubblika has accused Finance Minister Edward Scicluna, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, and Economy Minister Chris Cardona of facilitating a “coordinated” “act of modern-day piracy”, “corruption and money laundering, among other crimes” which saw VGH’s investor leave a debt of €50 million.
“Konrad Mizzi and Edward Scicluna had no qualms negotiating with people who stole,” the application reads.
The application, which is 150 pages long, primarily focuses on the government’s willingness to provide VGH, a company with absolutely no medical experience with a “disproportionate” financial advantage.
VGH was forced to sell its 30-year concession to manage three state hospitals 21 months into its operation in 2017.
The activists point to the signing of a memorandum of understanding five months before Projects Malta even issued a public call for proposals.
Assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had even written about the potential sale to VGH after Oxley Capital Group sent Ram Tumuluri to discuss the agreement as early as January 2015. The deal was concluded in September 2015. A redacted version of the agreement was published in October 2016.
Mizzi is the Minister for Private Public Partnerships, which has remained part of remit despite the issues surrounding VGH and Electrogas. PPPs still formed part of his remit when he was supposedly ‘demoted’ by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat following the Panama Papers scandal.
Projects Malta has refused to publish who sat on the selection committee that awarded the contract to VGH.
Was the Finance Minister aware that VGH only had a share capital of €1,200?
Meanwhile, Scicluna is accused of having continued to pay VGH despite being aware of the issues surrounding their investors. It is claimed that he was well aware that the company, who was supposed to spend close to 200 million on the three state-hospitals, only had a share capital of €1,200.
Staff were also paid by the government, while Scicluna was responsible for converting the 30-year lease to a 99-year lease.
There are also references to a due-diligence report which alleged that the PM’s Chief of Staff had informed people interested in the deal that they would have to work with Tumuluri.
In yet another twist in the ever-convoluted operations of VGH, the company has also listed the offices of Ganado Advocates as their registered address without the law firm’s consent.
Technoline, who was given the tender to procure all VGH’s medical supplies, is also subject to the claims of a criminal conspiracy.
Only a few months before this deal was struck, Technoline changed hands, with manager Ivan Vassallo buying out the firm’s shareholders – the Guillaumier and Cusens families – in two separate deals.
PN Leader Adrian Delia had made the issue an important subject when first ascending to the party’s leadership, taking the law to courts to scrap the deal. However, the sale to Steward has still gone through while the case goes on.