The Ministry for Health is continuing to “undermine” Malta’s Commissioner for Health by refusing to provide a full, unredacted version of the controversial contract with Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH), in what seems to be a year-on-year complaint from Malta’s government watchdog.
“In January 2019, extracts of the contract were leaked and published in the local media, and once again the full version was requested, but the Ministry did not comply even though the Ombudsman Act gives such a right,” the Ombudsman’s Annual Report for 2018 noted.
The Ombudsman has been requesting an unredacted copy of the agreement since 2016, but their request has never been fulfilled by state authorities.
VGH was forced to sell its 30-year concession to manage three state hospitals 21 months into its operation in 2017.
PN Leader Adrian Delia had made the issue a priority subject when first ascending to the party’s leadership, taking the affair to court to scrap the deal. However, the sale to Steward still went through while the case goes on.
The sale itself was always controversial, especially given claims that the signing of a memorandum of understanding occurred five months before Projects Malta even issued a public call for proposals.
In May, Activist group Repubblika launched a court application demanding a criminal inquiry that focuses on the three ministers involved in the controversial €2.1 billion concession.
The group have 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.