The Malta Independent 22 July 2024, Monday
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Arnold Cassola seeks investigation into Malta Enterprise CEO on NAO non-compliance

Tuesday, 16 May 2023, 09:39 Last update: about 2 years ago

Independent candidate Arnold Cassola has filed a request with the Standards Commissioner for an investigation into CEO of Malta Enterprise Kurt Farrugia and Chairman of the State Aid Monitoring Board Paul Zahra, for their attempt to “sabotage the National Audit Office’s inquiry into the misappropriation of funds of more than 400 million euros by Vitals and Steward Healthcare.”

This request follows the publication of the third part of the NAO’s audit into the ‘fraudulent’ concessionary deal, which found that former-Health and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi had “misled Cabinet” and “engineered” the side agreement which would have seen Steward receive €100 million if the hospitals concession was terminated.

The NAO was requested by the Public Accounts Committee to audit the concession awarded by the Government to Vitals Global Healthcare Ltd (VGH) in relation to the Gozo General Hospital, Saint Luke’s Hospital and Karin Grech Rehabilitation Hospital.

When called on to provide evidence for the case to the Auditor General, Cassola said that, instead of doing their duty to make all information that could shed light on this colossal fraud available, Farrugia and Zahra acted with the omertà attitude that characterizes the mafioso mentality that has infiltrated the State.

Cassola said that “these two gentlemen have acted to the detriment of the Maltese people, and with the complicity of a number of politicians, including the former Minister Mizzi.”

In his report, the Auditor General, on page 27, remarks:

“Of concern to the NAO was that Malta Enterprise failed to reply to any of the queries submitted. This Office sought information relating to the lease agreement entered into by Government with the QMUL for the Barts Medical School and an account of the payments received by Malta Enterprise in this respect. Similarly, queries submitted to the SAMB remained unaddressed. 

“This omertà on the part of state institutions is not acceptable in a state that upholds the democratic values of transparency and truth,” Cassola concluded.

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