The Nationalist opposition this evening called upon the Labour government to shoulder political responsibility for the €300 million fraudulent swindle of public funds related to the Vitals-Steward hospital concession debacle.
It also called for the arraignment of all those responsible for the “premeditated theft”, particularly disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat and his accomplices Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri.
In his response, peppered with partisan remarks denigrating the opposition, Prime Minister Robert Abela avoided any reference to any kind of responsibility, either political or criminal, and washed his hands of the matter by blaming his predecessor for the deal.
The three-hour debate following last Friday’s court judgement was characterised by two strands – the PN opposition calling on all those involved, including the institutions, to make sure that what was taken away from the public is returned, while Labour speakers defended their leader Robert Abela and attempted to absolved him of any connection while also placing the blame on the Muscat administration.
Spearheaded by PN Leader Bernard Grech and his predecessor Adrian Delia, the PN insisted now that the court has reached the obvious conclusion that the 30-year concession awarded to Vitals Global healthcare was a sham and one of the biggest swindles of the country’s public funds, the Labour government has the responsibility to take back the hospitals and reclaim the €300 million that has been fraudulently paid out from public funds.
The PN said that the deal, struck by Labour in 2015, was conceived in fraud and despite the warnings that the then-opposition had given, the government, including the current administration led by Robert Abela, continued to pay millions of euros every year for the fraudulent deal.
Both Grech and Delia called upon Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa’ to do his duty and arrest all those involved – including former Prime Minster Joseph Muscat, Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri – and take them to court to answer for their responsibilities.
PN MPs also said that all the enablers who consented to this deal, including those in positions of responsibility who looked the other way, should also answer for their actions or lack thereof, including members of the current Cabinet.
In response, Prime Minister Abela attacked the opposition for putting him into the frame of the fraudulent deal and insisted he had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Emphasising that he was not an MP and not even a legal consultant for Cabinet, when all the deal’s contracts were signed in 2015 and 2016, Abela said he had nothing to do with it.
Without mentioning Joseph Muscat by name, Abela said that upon his election as Labour leader, he made it clear to Steward that he would not renegotiate the deal and would await the court’s decision before moving forward with the concession.
Now that the court declared its position, Abela said he would be implementing it by taking back the hospitals, should the Court of Appeal confirm Friday’s judgement.
Abela did not say who would shoulder responsibility for the fraud or whether the government will be seeking to retrieve the €300 million it paid out. He however insisted the government is asking Vitals and Stewards to pay a €46 million pending tax bill.
Abela also repeated that the government is still committed to building a new hospital for Gozo but did not give any details.
You have to ask, just why the Police vans weren’t outside parliament to take them all to Corradino into “protective custody” when they came out of parliament. Re-admission into parliament should be possible after they have been interviewed “under caution” with a view to prosecution in the near future.
The paddywagons are on lease from the mafia, but only for office hours.
If Robert Abela is squeaky clean as he is saying, he should take all the documents including the Court’s sentence to the police commissioner to investigate if there are cases against Joseph Muscat, Konrad Mizzi, Keth Schembri and Chris Cardona.
If he doesn’t know where to begin, he should contact Simon Busutill or Adrian Delia.
Look at those sneering bastards around Abela.