The Malta Independent 20 April 2024, Saturday
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Abela continued to give money to Steward even though he knew deal was corrupt – Grech

Sabrina Zammit Monday, 27 February 2023, 20:23 Last update: about 2 years ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela continued to give money to Steward Health Care despite knowing that the deal which saw three public hospitals sold to them was corrupt, PN leader Bernard Grech said in Parliament on Monday.

Grech was speaking in Parliament during a heated debate on the controversial Steward Health Care hospitals concession, which was annulled by a court last Friday.

Grech referred to the “four-line” statement which the government published after a court on Friday annulled the hospitals contract, saying of the Prime Minister that “from the 40 minutes speech he just gave it appears he is still analysing the sentence, as I expected him to come with a plan to transfer the hospitals back to the country.”

Additionally, he said that Abela does not even know from where to start as the roadmap – quoting the term used by Abela’s predecessor Joseph Muscat for his electoral manifesto – used in the Vitals deal was a corrupt one “and when you get caught red-handed you don’t know what you are going to do.”

He reminded that when the case was filed back in 2018 and Adrian Delia was leader of the Opposition, the PL was asking for evidence of the claim that the contract was fraudulent but “now the court also confirmed this”, adding that the Prime Minister was now worried and “embarrassed to file an appeal.”

He reminded that the same thing happened earlier on Monday when a Constitutional Court confirmed an original judgment ruling that state broadcaster PBS and the Broadcasting Authority had failed to be impartial.

He said that the PL government continued to vote in favour of the Vitals deal since Abela’s appointment as Prime Minister, starting from the first Budget, and continuing ever since.

Grech said that the first thing he was waiting for from Abela is an apology but “not only did he not do that, but he said he has no remorse.”

“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Grech said, addressing Abela, lambasting the Prime Minister for defending the contract and even increasing the money that the government was paying theme very year.

Referring to Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa he said that “instead of putting 20 member of the Police Force outside the PN headquarters on Sunday, because he was waiting for a bad episode to happen, you should send those 20 police to arrest those who this deal has proven are corrupt.”

Grech said that the government had wasted five years, and was not trying to win five days by filing an application in court to shorten the period in which Steward can appeal.

He said that the Prime Minister must shoulder responsibility, that the people must be given back what is theirs, and that whoever has to be convicted, gets what they deserve.


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