The Malta Independent 24 September 2021, Friday

Court orders magisterial inquiry into government hospitals deal with VGH

Thursday, 18 July 2019, 16:00 Last update: about 3 years ago

A Magistrate’s court today ordered a magisterial inquiry into the deal reached by the government on three public hospitals with Vitals Global Healthcare.

The request had been made by NGO Repubblika in May.

In a statement this afternoon, Ministers Edward Scicluna, Konrad Mizzi and Chris Cardona noted the decree pronounced earlier today by the Court of Magistrates following a request by the association Repubblika for the commencement of an inquiry in relation to the concession for the regeneration of the Gozo Hospital, St Luke’s Hospital and Karin Grech.

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The ministers noted that the Court of Magistrates did not pronounce itself on the merits of the case, and has not delved into the facts but only referred the allegations to an Inquiring Magistrate.

The ministers contend that the allegations are speculative in nature and were made in bad faith by politically-motivated individuals, the statement said.  In terms of law, they therefore intend to make submissions to an appellate court for a revision of the Magistrate’s decree.

On 13 May, Repubblika filed a court application requesting a magisterial inquiry into a public private partnership entered into by the government with a the company Vitals Global Healthcare for the administration of three of Malta’s hospitals.

In a statement, the NGO Repubblika said that in its application it had shown how ministers Edward Scicluna, Chris Cardona and Konrad Mizzi had given the group of investors behind VGH an unfair advantage in the contract’s selection process.

Repubblika said that despite there being abundant evidence of wrongdoing, the country’s institutions had not done their job and had taken no action about “serious suspicions of corruption and money laundering”.

It said it had requested an inquiry to preserve evidence, in the absence of any investigation by the police, adding that the fact that it had decided to go request an inquiry itself didn’t absolve the police of their responsibility to investigate.

Back in 2015, the company Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) was granted a concession by the government for it to run Karin Grech, St Luke’s and the Gozo General hospitals.

In February 2018 the concession was transferred to Steward Health Careafter VGH had failed to meet a number of contractual milestones related to the development of the hospitals.

 

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