The Malta Independent 21 March 2023, Tuesday
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Robert Abela says he did not discuss hospitals court sentence with Joseph Muscat

Albert Galea Thursday, 16 March 2023, 17:34 Last update: about 4 days ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela has said that neither did he meet Joseph Muscat over the court’s decision to annul the government’s hospitals concession, nor did he discuss the matter with him.

Abela was replying to a Parliamentary Question on the matter asked by PN MP and former leader Adrian Delia on Thursday.

Delia asked the Prime Minister whether he had met his predecessor Muscat – who was the person who sold off three state hospitals to the private sector in the form of a now-annulled concession – after the court decided to throw out the deal and describe it as “fraudulent” and “possibly criminal” to discuss the sentence and “possibly, the appeal.”


In his reply, Abela said that he had not met with or spoken to the former Prime Minister on the sentence or any possible appeal.

The government did not appeal the court sentence, choosing instead to accept it in its entirety.  The period where appeals to the judgement could be fined elapsed on Thursday.

Steward themselves appealed the sentence on Wednesday, but dropped a bombshell on Thursday when they announced that they would be terminating the concession agreement, meaning that the hospitals will be handed back to the state.

PN MP Mark Anthony Sammut also asked the Prime Minister for a list of meetings which took place with Ram Tumuluri -  the man who fronted the initial concessionaire Vitals Global Healthcare – at the Prime Minister’s office in Castille between 2013 and the present day.

Abela however simply replied that he had never met Tumuluri.

In other parliamentary questions related to the Steward concession, PN finance spokesperson Jerome Caruana Cilia asked Abela, Health Minister Chris Fearne, and Economy Minister Silvio Schembri whether a tax guarantee was given to Steward when they took out a 36 million loan from Bank of Valletta.

All three off them referred to a parliamentary question answered by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana on Wednesday, who referred Caruana Cilia to the testimony of the Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary in court, which is quoted in the court sentence.

Delia meanwhile also asked the Prime Minister whether he had verified whether the side agreement which handed Steward a 100 million exit clause was discussed by Cabinet. 

Abela answered that he had already publicly said that the first time he saw this contract was after it had been signed.


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