The Malta Independent 17 May 2022, Tuesday

Audio: John Dalli denies meeting subcontractors ahead of Gozo hospital deal

Helena Grech Wednesday, 1 June 2016, 11:07 Last update: about 7 years ago

Former Health Minister and EU Commissioner John Dalli has categorically denied meeting with subcontractors before a public call for expression was made on the Gozo General Hospital and St Luke’s privatisation deal with Vitals Global Healthcare.

Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia yesterday published a due diligence report leaked to her blog – alleging that “corruption and trading in influence” occurred in the tender process. The report was conducted by an unknown firm, for a client firm which was allegedly approached by Vitals Global Health Care for involvement in the project.

According to due diligence report published on Daphne Caruana Galizia's blog “a very senior former government minister” had flown to Dubai to negotiate with subcontractors ahead of the public call for expression to explain how they can win the bid.The extracts of the due diligence report reproduced in Mrs Caruana Galizia’s blog indicate that a deal had already been struck with a Canadian-Indian who the blogger describes as being a “shady front man”.

The Malta Independent investigated the serious allegations levelled in the report. Besides seeking Mr Dalli’s reaction on the matter, detailed research shows that Vitals Global Healthcare ltd have two local branches.

The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bluestone Investments Malta Limited which in turn is owned by Bluestone Special Situations 4 Limited, a private equity fund based in Singapore and managed by the Oxley Group.

'The allegations are lies' - Dalli

Asked to declare his interest in the project, Mr. Dalli said that the allegation “is all a lie and this has all been invented. This is persecution which has been a long time coming from Daphne Caruana Galizia,” whom he likens to “a terrorist.” “Yes I liken her to a terrorist. These are all lies,” insisted an agitated Mr Dalli in comments to this newsroom. (Hear the full interview on www.independent.com.mt)

“It is all a lie that I have something to do with Panama, and all these other things being mentioned. People are trying to implicate me in this ongoing swindle,” he continued.

“God knows how much they searched for things to implicate me; they found nothing because there is nothing. They are maliciously fabricating stories about me in order to implicate me. They are now resorting to outright lies.

“The persecution which has been a long time coming from a certain group of people have poisoned others through an injection of venom and animosity (hdura),” he said while insisting that he would mention names when he is ready, however alleging the same accusation over and over that people within this newsroom are also responsible.

Dalli has not been a government consultant for two and a half years

Turning to whether he is still a government a consultant, he exclaimed that he hasn’t filled that position in two and a half years, and only did so when he had penned a report regarding the finances of Mater Dei.

“All I did was write a report about hospital, because it belongs to the public and not of a particular political party. Health is the most important thing in this country; I felt I should help where I can. I gave suggestions to the government, I do not know if they are ready to take on suggestions and I have stopped being a consultant shortly after finishing the report.”

“I am no longer a government consultant, and I have never received a cent from the government. Even for this they tried to criticise me, because I was not paid. I cannot be bought by anybody. I did this for my country not for personal gain, unlike others who have sold themselves,” he fired.

Asked about the Canadian-Indian man involved with the privatisation contracts of the Gozo Hospital and St. Luke’s, Mr Dalli said that he has no idea who he is, and maintained that he had never met with him before.“Do I have a right to work? Do I have a right to have a client and work? I didn’t take notice of people before but now I have to.

“Some time ago I had a Chinese client and used a cab service – it was said where we went and that we met in the first place. Yes I met with them to teach them about Maltese procedure and policy. Do I have a right to see clients?”

I am ‘practically retired’

On the subject of his current occupation, Mr Dalli attacked this newspaper by saying that he is “practically retired,” as whenever he tries to find work“people read filth written about me on your newspaper and on the blog associated with your newspaper. I have lost all chance to work.”

The Malta Independent has always acted in good faith and sought Mr. Dalli’s comments before publishing reports which made headlines across the globe. His final comments to this newsroom were:“I hold you responsible, your editors and all your directors because now it has ended with you killing my wife through this harassment and stalking that you have always carried out. I am holding you all responsible.”

Newly-appointed Health Minister Chris Fearne, in comments to this newsroom, said that he was not aware of the allegations made on the blog –but added that if action needs to be taken he would not hesitate:

“I have not seen the allegations you are referring to, but I need to see what is being said. Somebody brought to my attention that things were being said on a certain blog. Generally I do not respond to what is said on blogs but I will see it, giving me a chance to react in the future.

“Naturally, if there is scope for investigation I will take action,” he said. “I take things seriously when there is proof and generally when presented with a report drawn up seriously. If there is action to be taken, without a doubt I will be the first to take them.”

Former Nationalist MP Albert Fenech who is now employed by Vital Group was asked to comment however he said that due to his contractual agreement he was unable to reply to our questions.

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