The Malta Independent 21 February 2019, Thursday

VGH deal: Mizzi, Cardona and Scicluna complicit in fraud, corruption – Jason Azzopardi

Albert Galea Tuesday, 22 January 2019, 19:41 Last update: about 29 days ago

Government ministers Konrad Mizzi, Chris Cardona and Edward Scicluna are, along with five others, complicit in fraud, corruption, breaking professional secrets, willful bankruptcy, trading in influence, and conspiracy over the deal to sell three hospitals to Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH), PN MP Jason Azzopadi alleged in Parliament on Tuesday.

Using his adjournment speech to address the recent revelations on how three hospitals were transferred to Vitals Global Healthcare and then, subsequently, to Steward Healthcare, Azzopardi gave a full timeline of events starting from 27 March 2015, when the government, through its project's arm Projects Malta Ltd and through Minister Konrad Mizzi, issued a request for proposals for the redevelopment, maintenance, management and operation of St. Luke's Hospital, Karin Grech Rehabilitation Hospital and Gozo General Hospital.  

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The timeline traced various developments up until recent days when The Shift News exposed contractual details which noted that hidden owners of Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) funded the €5 million purchase of Technoline and then awarded themselves exclusivity of supply, something which they also did with the company Mtrace as well.  The Shift reported that through a secret agreement, Steward Healthcase acquired VGH for only €1 and that for that price, Steward got a concession worth €70 million per year, or €188,000 per day, from Maltese taxpayers for potentially 99 years and €7 billion in revenue.

Azzopardi said that that all this would not be known had it not been for the independent media.

As a result of this deal, Ministers Konrad Mizzi, Chris Cardona - for signing an MoU for this project five months before the Request for Proposal was published, Edward Scicluna, along with Ram Tumuluri, Mark Pawley, Shaukut Ali Abdul Ghafour (Chaudry), Armin Ernst, and Ivan Vassallo, were all complicit in fraud, corruption, breaking professional secrets, wilful bankruptcy, trading in influence, and conspiracy, Azzopardi alleged.

Azzopardi called for the establishment of a Special Inquiring Magistrate for Cases of Corruption through an ad-hoc law, chosen by the President of the Republic, the job of which will be only to investigate, fight and prosecute cases of corruption, and that he would have the right to appoint his own staff and open investigations as he sees fit.This was necessary, he said, because it is evident that the Police Commissioner is "in Joseph Muscat's pocket" and will not carry out investigations into such matters.  
The VGH deal was a deal which was "set up to fail" and it was one of the many reasons that such a special inquiring magistrate for cases of corruption was required. 

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