Transfer of hospitals concession to Steward Healthcare cleared after investor withdraws legal action

Vitals investor Ashok Rattehalli informed the court this morning that he will no longer be pursuing the warrant of prohibitory injunction he filed last month to stop the transfer to Steward Healthcare, showing the investors have come to an agreement.

This was the second time Rattehalli had taken legal action to try to stop the transfer of the hospitals concession. He filed the first warrant of prohibitory injunction in December, but he withdrew that after a late night meeting at Castille in which Minister Konrad Mizzi, and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri were present, The Shift News had revealed.

Yet, he then took legal action again at the end of January saying the relevant companies (Bluestone / Vitals) did not provide any substantive guarantees that his rights would be safeguarded, despite the government’s intervention.

Ashok Rattehalli

Ashok Rattehalli, one of the hidden investors behind Vitals Global Healthcare.

The Shift has shown that financial trouble hit one of the mother companies in the British Virgin Islands last August. Further investigations by The Shift News into the documents submitted by Rattehalli led to a trail in the British Virgin Islands and the discovery of a court document there that showed that company – Asia Harimau Investments Limited – was facing bankruptcy and could bring down the chain of companies hiding Vitals interests that control operations in Malta.

When Vitals moved to transfer the lucrative hospitals concession to Steward Healthcare Rattehalli moved to stop the deal because it would mean he would never get what he was owed. Documents he presented in court showed he was promised: a seat on the Medical Board as well as in the Operating Management Team.

On top of that, he was promised 5% of the shares in Vitals that would kick in once the agreement with the government was signed.

The Shift News has collaborated with The Sunday Times of Malta to present the results of investigations on the government deal with Vitals. The facts known so far already show that taxpayers in Malta got a rotten deal on the three public hospitals that has already cost €50 million since 2016. In return, the company has not delivered any new service or constructed or refurbished any of the hospitals.

Last week,the Medical Association of Malta held a one-day strike action in protest at the way St Luke’s, Karin Grech and the Gozo General hospitals were being transferred to Steward Healthcare.


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