Health ministry spends €6.6 million in half a year on 324 direct orders

The health ministry is spending over a million euros a month on direct orders that circumvent public procurement rules, according to the latest published figures


The Health Ministry issued a staggering 324 direct orders worth over €6.6 million over the last six months of 2022, public procurement that had nothing to do with the Covid-19 pandemic.

While most of the products and services in question were medical in nature, the list includes repeat direct order recipients including IT contracts for Mark Sammut, the current PBS executive chairman and chairman of Malta MedAir.

According to the latest list of direct orders, Sammut, through his companies Cursor Limited and Mall Systems, has been awarded another €180,000 in direct orders for the provision of “AI Dynamics” and “application maintenance and support” for the patient administration system.

His companies are co-owned by his wife Carmen Sammut who was once Health Minister Chris Fearne’s chief of staff.

In all, the Sammuts were awarded over €300,000 worth of direct orders in 2022.

Religious services by direct order

Religious services are now also being procured by direct order. According to the latest list, the Capuchin Friars Minors were awarded some €15,000 to “provide religious services” at Mount Carmel Hospital.

This is not the first such direct order. The Shift reported last year how the Franciscan Conventual Friars, a different religious order, was awarded a €70,000 direct order to provide “spiritual services for patients receiving treatment in the UK”.

The Order later clarified that it did not charge for spiritual services but was only being compensated for the Friars’ living expenses in London.

Other direct orders handed out include one of the Big Four auditing firms, PwC, which landed direct orders worth at least €120,000 for auditing services, while RSM was paid another €13,000 for similar services.

Legal services were obtained by direct order from 360 Legal, which is owned by Minister Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi’s sister.

While the Ageing Ministry is already paying millions of euros for the lease of long-term beds for the elderly in almost all the private elderly homes in Malta, the Health Ministry is now also issuing direct orders to procure parallel services.

Over the last six months of 2022, the ministry paid hundreds of thousands of euros to Agincare (Ghigo), Zaren Vassallo’s Care Malta Ltd, Eldercare of Tarxien and Dar Pinto for an undisclosed number of “long-term care patients”, according to information published in the Government Gazette.

It is unclear why the Health Ministry is striking these procurement deals when care for the elderly care falls under the remit of Ageing Minister Jo Etienne Abela.


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9 days ago

On the Malta Independent to-day
‘The government is the victim’, Joseph Muscat says on hospitals deal annulment.
It’s us the Maltese (those who pay taxes) are the victims mr. fraudster. you and your corrupt lot only made yourselves rich by looting the nation and the workers’ votes. SHAME ON YOU.

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