Prime Minister Robert Abela has distanced himself from the government’s dubious Vitals Global Healthcare deal made under his predecessor, Joseph Muscat.
This came when Abela was asked today whether Konrad Mizzi’s political resignation was enough despite the National Auditor’s Office flagging potential collusion between the government and VGH on the deal .
“I have already made the distinction between the position of VGH and position of Steward Healthcare,” Abela replied. “Without committing to what direction the government will take in the future, today our contract is with Steward Healthcare”.
Abela said that Mizzi’s resignation was related to the Panama Papers and not the VGH deal. Meanwhile, he insisted that Muscat had paid the ultimate political price by resigning as Prime Minister.
VGH was granted a controversial concession of the Gozo General Hospital, St Luke’s Hospital and Karin Grech Rehabilitation Hospital.
They were forced to sell off their operations just 21 months in amid growing financial debt, which stood at €36 million by the end of 2017. Its CEO, Ram Tumuluri, still made off with a €5 million bonus.
Steward Healthcare was then brought in to take over the concession.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue threatened to come to halt after Steward called for an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Robert Abela over the state’s failure to cough up some €18 million in due reimbursements.
Abela has said that discussions on the government’s contract with Steward Healthcare have been placed on the back-burner until the COVID-19 coronavirus situation clears up.
Lovin Malta has reported how Steward was given assurances by former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and former Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi on the deal when taking over. It has also been revealed that Malta will need to pay a €100 million should the concession be rescinded.