Technoline, the medical supplier granted an exclusive agreement in the controversial Vitals hospital deal, pocketed €1.8 million in direct orders for COVID-19 equipment. One of many controversial individuals who were awarded millions in government contracts during the pandemic.
In an analysis by the Shift News, Technoline were awarded 27 direct orders. Documents show that the direct orders were for ventilators, antibody tests and other equipment needed to treat COVID-19 patients.
Technoline has long been linked to the VGH deal. The company were granted exclusive procurement of medical equipment for the three state hospitals.
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.
After this deal, a certain Pakistani national called Yaser Ali Badar was listed as a Technoline director, a move that raised eyebrows given that he was registered as living in the same Tigne apartment as VGH investors Shaukat Ali Chaudry, believed to be a relative of Badar.
It was later revealed VGH had actually used a Jersey company to loan Vassallo’s company €5.14 million in December 2016, a few months before he bought out Technoline’s shareholders.
Technoline was not the only controversial company who benefited from the direct order.
James Fenech, who owns Fieldsports Ltd, supplied 26 ventilators in two separate direct orders, amounting to roughly €1 million.
Fenech was recently charged by the anti-terrorism police for exporting two RHIBs to Libya back in June 2019 without receiving permission by the Maltese authorities.
The vessels were allegedly going to be used as a contingency plan to evacuate workers of an unnamed UAE company out of Libya in the eventuality that the situation in the North African country escalates.
Malta’s Tiger King, Anton Rea Cutajar, also got a piece of the pie with a company owned by him and his former wife, Princling Holdings Ltd, getting a €200,000 direct order to supply 5 ventilators to Mater Dei. However, he made little profit off of the sale, insisting he sold them for the benefit of the nation.
Rea is no stranger to criticism, particularly over his zoo and his recent parliamentary petition to stop illegal migration.
The direct orders were issued while Malta was scrambling to cope with the pandemic, rushing to get its hands on ventilators and other essential equipment to deal with a major outbreak.
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