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Opposition Leader files request for four witnesses to testify in Vitals case

st luke hospital vitals steward healthcare
The renovation of St Luke's Hospital promised by Vitals Global Healthcare / Steward Healthcare never took off.

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia has requested a court to summon four men – including Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne – involved in the valuation reports and bidding documents related to the controversial Vitals hospital deal to testify in his legal battle to return the hospitals to the public.

In the judicial request for the issue of summons, Delia listed James Camenzuli, Executive Chairman and former CEO at Projects Malta, Manuel Castagna from Nexia BT, Robert Borg and Fearne.

Nexia BT’s Castagna and Borg, an accountant by profession and financial consultant to the General Workers Union, were involved in the financial analysis of the evaluation report on Vitals Global Healthcare deal that was submitted as part of the request for proposal for the sale of three hospitals.

The application calls on the men to testify on all the evidence presented so far, together with anything else that might be presented in the future, including the evaluation report, due diligence reports, supporting documents and any other documents related to Vitals Global Healthcare.

They are also being summoned to testify on the requests for proposals and any other communication they had with former prime minister Joseph Muscat and others before and after the bidding process.

Delia received a copy of the evaluation report during the proceedings and published it, revealing facts on the deal that the government had previously kept hidden, including that taxpayers forked out around €150 million to individuals who repeatedly failed to meet commitments.

The report sheds light on the contract signed with the government, which has so far not been made public. When the government had presented the agreement on the deal in parliament in 2017, it was severely redacted.

Former minister Konrad Mizzi had referred to the report when testifying in November, saying he had relied on the conclusions reached by the evaluation committee when deciding upon the privatisation deal with VGH.

Last weekThe Shift published its investigation that traced the new deals in corrupt countries being signed by the once-hidden investors in the Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) deal with more than a little help from Malta.

Steward Healthcare bought Vitals Global Healthcare for only €1, and with it a concession for three of Malta’s public hospitals worth millions per year. The Shift’s investigation showed that Steward and Vitals were working together on deals in other countries, showing their interests were connected from the start in a deal “designed to fail”.

Fearne was the one who had sold the idea to the public that Steward was ‘the real deal‘ after VGH, at another point when the so-called ‘investors’ had requested more funds from the government just before selling off to Steward for a pittance.

The finance minister and another two former ministers under Muscat are the subjects of an ongoing criminal inquiry by a magistrate in relation to the VGH deal on the public hospitals.

Maltese courts are a continental embarrassment

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia.

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