The Malta Independent 22 September 2020, Tuesday

Former Malta Enterprise CEO says he did not negotiate Vitals MoU

Albert Galea Wednesday, 29 July 2020, 09:44 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Former Malta Enterprise CEO Mario Galea has “categorically and strongly” denied that he was involved in negotiations for a memorandum of understanding signed between the government and a group of investors who would later form part of Vitals Global Healthcare.

The NAO on Tuesday night released an addendum to their scathing report into the tendering process behind the concession given to Vitals Global Healthcare for the running of three state hospitals. This addendum was based on an MoU which was signed in 2014 – before the concession was granted – which was only found some weeks ago by the government.

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The NAO said in their report that the MoU further supported their conclusions that Vitals should have been disqualified from the tendering process, and that the process as a whole was “staged and deceitful”.

The report was signed by then-Economy Minister Chris Cardona, who told the NAO however that he had nothing to do with the MoU beyond signing it.

The NAO said that the role of the Office of the Prime Minister in the MoU remained obscure, especially after the office’s former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri did not answer the NAO’s questions. Schembri yesterday issued a sworn affidavit in reaction, amongst other things putting the onus of the MoU and the negotiations related to it on Mario Galea – then the CEO of Malta Enterprise.


Read More: VGH should have been disqualified: NAO finds proof of collusion in hospitals deal


Galea responded with a statement sent to media on Wednesday morning.

“It is reiterated that  Malta Enterprise’s role in the whole matter was to ensure that the provisions of the contract between Government and Barts (for which ME acted as a focal point)  were to be transposed in the obligations of Vitals or whoever  runs the Gozo Hospital”, Galea said.

“This was my input to the MOU in question.  It was a significant one which was however limited solely to this subject.”

The NAO note in their report that “acknowledged in the MoU was that the Investors were interested in investing in the setting up of a Gozo Medical Complex, which comprised the extension and operation of the Gozo General Hospital, the construction and operation of an assisted living centre, as well as the construction of a medical school to be operated by Barts School of Medicine and Dentistry”

In his second point, Galea noted that one must not confuse Barts Medical School with Vitals Global Healthcare as they are two totally separate and distinct projects.

Galea categorically denied that he was ever involved in the ensuing hospitals deal, except for Barts Medical school, as such matters “were neither in the remit nor in the competences of Malta Enterprise.”

Furthermore, Galea referred to the articles in the media and Keith Schembri’s affidavit.

“I categorically and strongly deny that I was involved in any negotiations prior to the signing of the MOU and/or negotiated the MOU itself except for what I have stated in point 1 above”, he said in reference to the above.

With this statement, it remains unclear who actually negotiated the MoU on behalf of the government.

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