The Malta Independent 2 December 2023, Saturday
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Abela accuses PN of ‘political terrorism,’ and uses latest NAO report on Steward to defend himself

Marc Galdes Monday, 15 May 2023, 18:51 Last update: about 8 months ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela said that the hospitals’ deal audit report proves that what he has been saying was true and accused the Nationalist Party of “political terrorism” for attacking the government through “false allegations.”

The National Audit Office released a report, on Monday, which is the third and final part of a wide-reaching audit into the concession awarded by the Government to Vitals Global Healthcare Ltd (VGH) in relation to the Gozo General Hospital, St Luke’s Hospital and Karin Grech Rehabilitation Hospital – a concession which later passed to Steward Health Care.


The report found that former Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, who was responsible for the concession, “engineered” the side agreement which would have seen Steward receive €100 million if the hospitals concession was terminated by “misleading Cabinet.”

The concession has since been annulled after the court found that it was “fraudulent.”  Steward have appealed the sentence, but have also said that they are pulling out of Malta regardless.

Abela began talking about this report during parliament, although the agenda of the day was about Environment and Resources Authority Financial Estimates 2023.

“They do not want to discuss this,” Abela said accusing the PN of contesting his discourse on the NAO report.

Multiple points of order were called by PN leader Bernard Grech, PN Whip Robert Cutajar and PN MP Karol Aquilina in protest of Abela who was not addressing the agenda of the day. The PN argued that according to Standing Order 57, the person speaking had to make reference to what was on the agenda.

Grech and Cutajar both said that Abela was “out of order” for not sticking to the agenda and insisted that Speaker of the House Anglu Farruga intervenes. In response, Farrugia continue quoting the standing order and allowed Abela to continue speaking.

Grech also added that Abela was lying, as the report showed that corruption is even worse than we thought.

“I am so convinced with what I have been saying, that I am here to debate,” Abela said in response.

Abela said that the report is far from the “extreme” allegations made by the PN.

Abela insisted that the report confirms what he has been saying from 2020 until today.

The main point that Abela brought up was that, the NAO report said that when Abela became Prime Minister in 2020, “the government considered terminating the contract.”

He added that the contract also said that Abela saw the contract for the first time after he became Prime Minister.

Abela went on to mention how the government always insisted that Steward honour the contract as a whole instead of terminating the contract and being susceptible to the €100 million clause.

Furthermore, he slammed the PN for filing an official complaint to the Police Commissioner, asking him to investigate all those involved in the hospitals’ deal. The PN mentioned Joseph Muscat, Konrad Mizzi, Chris Fearne, Robert Abela, Chris Cardona, Keith Schembri, Edward Scicluna, Clyde Caruana, Ram Tumuluri, Armin Ernst and Vitals and Steward.

Abela pointed out that nowhere does the NAO mention any wrongdoing from himself, or his colleagues Fearne and Caruana.

Later on in parliament, Grech spoke and condemned Abela for choosing to speak against what was on the agenda. 

“You are being played at your own game,” Grech said as he followed in Abela’s footsteps and also spoke about the NAO report.

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