The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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The proof is out and the government can only respond by saying ‘not me’ – Bernard Grech

Marc Galdes Wednesday, 17 May 2023, 20:17 Last update: about 2 years ago

Additional reporting by Sabrina Zammit

Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech slammed the government for not taking any accountability for the hospitals’ concession deal, saying that it can only respond by saying “not me.”

“Today they do not ask us ‘where is the proof?’ Today they tell us ‘not me’,” Grech said during a protest on Wednesday.

Scores of people gathered in front of parliament to attend a protest called by the PN following the recent revelations concerning the hospitals’ concession deal by the National Audit Office and the media.

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During the protest, Grech began by saying: “Even if it takes long, the truth will come out.”

He addressed the crowd and said that they are there because they cannot take the pigging out taking place in government anymore.

Grech said that now that the proof is out they are blaming each other, “this is what thieves do when they are caught stealing.”

When mentioning Daphne Caruana Galizia, Grech said that we cannot stop mentioning her as it was she “who gave life to the truth.”

Grech went on to mention how following Caruana Galizia’s work, many journalists continued her work, as well as PN MP Adrian Delia and former leader of the Opposition Simon Busuttil.

“Don’t let anyone shut you up,” Grech said in an attempt to encourage people. He said that in this country people will ridicule you or kill you for telling the truth.

In the crowd, he called out to the Labourites that were present, who have had enough of what was taking place in government.

Grech added that the PN will fight for a country where the Police Commissioner and Attorney General do their work.

Referring to the third National Audit Office report into the hospitals’ deal that came out on Monday, Grech said that this confirmed what the PN had been saying, that the €400 million did not include wages.

Grech pointed out that Deputy Minister Chris Fearne and Finance Minister Clyde Caruana were also mentioned in the report, which showed that they continued working so that Steward will continue to be given money.

Grech praised journalists and brought up the story published by The Times, which he said confirmed what the PN had been saying; that Muscat got paid €60,000 for being a consultant for Steward Health Care.

Moreover, he mentioned the other story uploaded by The Times which showed that the Vitals Global Healthcare spent money on a lot of luxuries, and he slammed the government for wasting money to be spent on these luxuries instead of Malta’s health sector.

Lastly, he mentioned The Times story where Ram Tumuluri, former VGH director, alleged that former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, threatened Tumulari by telling him that he could end up like Caruana Galizia.

“Isn’t that what happens in a Mafia state,” Grech questioned.

Right before he stood outside to speak at the protest, Grech spoke in Parliament.

He began his parliamentary discourse by saying that he could not believe, that after what was revealed on Wednesday, the government is almost completely absent.

He also noted how Abela and Fearne were yet to comment on this news, “The Prime Minister and the deputy Prime Minister are still running away from the truth.”

“Road map of corruption:” Grech said that ten years later the protagonists of this road map have been lying.

Grech insisted that if the PN were in government it would definitely not sell the health of the Maltese people and it would not enter into collusion with criminals.

He directly addressed labour supporters, who were the ones who trusted the PL and believed in them, however,

When mentioning the consultancy deal that Muscat signed a few days after Abela became Prime Minister, Grech said that it is no wonder that Muscat made sure that Abela became Prime Minister so that he can continue carrying out his corrupt deals.

Grech said Abela is not the victim, because before 2020 he had said that he had the competence to “supervise” what was taking place.

“Before he became Prime Minister he knew what was happening, and even so, he continued to defend all of this.”

“Today we know that Joseph Muscat took almost €500,000 million from the backs of workers.”

A few days after Abela became Prime Minister, Grech said that Abela met with Muscat, who was a consultant for Steward and discussed continuing the hospitals’ deal.

When talking about Fearne, he said that Fearne knew what was going on, but he still did not “lift a finger to stop what was happening.”

Grech mentioned the video that The Times uploaded which showed the abandoned state of St Luke’s, and said that this showed that Fearne and Abela both knew that no investment was taking place, however, the government continued paying Steward.

“Real deal, true, but the real deal for the corrupt,” Grech said directly referring to Fearne.

During Delia’s parliamentary speech, he reminded everyone of what has taken place over the last three months regarding the hospitals’ deal.

Following the court judgement which pointed out that Abela is responsible, Delia said that since the government chose not to appeal the decision, this means that it accepts the court’s decision and it accepts that Abela was responsible.

Instead, Steward appealed, but Delia pointed out that through its appeal it attacked the government for defrauding them.

“Everyone knows that there were a lot who defrauded each other, but the real victim was the Maltese people.”

Deputy speaker David Agius interrupted and informed Delia that he must keep to the agenda of the day, which was an amendment to the law that amends the Act

Delia noted what Agius said but continued with his speech about the hospitals’ deal. PL MP Edward Zammit Lewis protested Delia’s speech, however, Agius said that he is acting in the same way that Speaker of the House Anglu Farrugia acted two days ago.

Continuing his speech, Delia mentioned how Abela expressed his satisfaction with the Auditor General’s report, during parliament on Monday.

However, Delia also mentioned how although the government had previously said that the €400 million given to VGH and Steward includes wages, the report revealed that the government was spending an extra €188 million, over and above the money it was giving to VGH and Steward, on wages.

When mentioning the story of the investigation into Muscat, Delia slammed Muscat for signing the deal which saw him receiving €15,000 every month, just one week after Abela was elected as Prime Minister.

Delia expressed how baffled he was that after Abela became Prime Minister, he welcomed Muscat at Castille as the consultant of Steward.

Delia accused the Police Commissioner and the AG of always knowing about this fraudulent deal but not doing anything.

He also took the opportunity to thank Fearne for the work he has done and he acknowledged that Fearne did not know about the deal from the beginning.

However, he insisted that Fearne needs to say when he found out, what he knew, and how he acted when he knew.

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