Steward Health Care is appealing. Joseph Muscat and Konrad Mizzi promised to pay them €100 million plus all debts incurred and Steward’s determined to get that money.
Steward’s statement on Wednesday betrayed the arrogance we have now come to expect from those on whom Labour bestowed impunity.
The company is used to calling the shots and getting its way because it had Muscat and Mizzi on its side. The statement was littered with threats.
Malta is a banana republic, Steward asserted. The court’s judgement “presents major concerns for the rule of law in Malta”.
Those raking it in thanks to Labour’s trampling of the rule of law are now lamenting its demise. Steward, the company cashing in millions for doing nothing, thanks to a fraudulent deal it struck with the world’s 2019 most corrupt politician, is concerned for Malta’s rule of law. How considerate.
After leeching the country dry, Steward is shedding tears for our democracy.
Steward is warning us – forget about foreign investment; nobody will put his money in your rotten island after that court decision. Yet Steward brought no investment.
In the company statement, Steward claimed it had “transformed a bankrupt enterprise into a professionally managed operation with a sound financial footing”. But there’s nothing financially sound about Steward.
The company entered into an interminable series of agreements with the government to finance its Malta project. That financing should have come from foreign banks. They should have brought foreign investment.
Instead, that money came from Bank of Valletta in four separate loans amounting to €35,900,000. Those millions were guaranteed by our government using our money.
Steward is now resorting to intimidation. It kept the US Embassy and the US State Department “fully informed at all times of all relevant events and engagements with the government of Malta” in an attempt to scare us into submission.
The State Department knows who Steward had been dealing with – Konrad Mizzi, who has been banished from the US and exposed for his “significant corruption” and “kickbacks and bribes”. The US Embassy knows who Steward has been doing backroom deals with.
“Steward remains committed to operating in accordance with its highest professional standards and values,” the company declared. Shameless.
When Health Minister Chris Fearne withheld funds from Steward for failing to abide by the labour supply agreement, Steward held parallel negotiations with Konrad Mizzi and the Office of the Prime Minister. They signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mizzi, ensuring that Steward got as much money as they wanted, not what they were due.
That MOU was reportedly signed behind Fearne’s back. Those are Steward’s highest professional standards and values.
But there was worse, far worse. On 27 August 2019, Steward signed an agreement with Konrad Mizzi through which they would make €100 million and have all their debts paid by Maltese citizens if the court case did not go in the company’s favour. That agreement was kept secret from everybody.
Fearne testified that he knew absolutely nothing about it. He told the court that the Cabinet wasn’t told about the €100 million penalty either. Only the fact that government would have to cover Steward’s debts was mentioned.
Joseph Muscat claimed this week that the Cabinet knew about those €100 million. He certainly knew. Yet how credible is his declaration in court that he was surprised that such a sum was being mentioned, saying he was unaware of any agreement to that effect? He said, under oath, that he was only aware the government would be obliged to pay Bank of Valletta for the money borrowed.
This is the man with whom Steward was conducting its duplicitous deals.
“Steward Health Care Malta has no knowledge of events that took place while the concession was being awarded,” the company stated. Yet in submissions to a UK court, they maintained that “the concession was originally given as a direct consequence of fraudulent action by the investors, including Ambrish Gupta, in contravention of regulations of public procurement”.
Steward accused Gupta of irregularities through his involvement in collusion that led to the award of the Vitals concession before the tendering process had even begun. Steward must be lying now or was lying in the British courts.
Steward “emphatically rejects the narrative of the judge’s findings about it” as this was made with “no basis in evidence”, the company added. This narrative, according to Steward, was erroneous and could have been disproven had it been asked to supply evidence.
But on 16 November 2021, Steward declared it had no further evidence to present. When it was given the opportunity to present evidence to prove that it had met its contractual obligations, Steward presented a single-page affidavit accompanied by 76 pages of photographs. They showed a helicopter and refurbished toilets for the telephone operator with details of the ceramic installed. They failed to provide evidence of how much money they actually invested.
The court expected Steward to present detailed categorical evidence to support its claim that they had fulfilled their obligations. The court was “perplexed with the poverty of evidence Steward presented”.
Steward presented no evidence that it added 50 beds to Karin Grech or 80 rehab beds. It showed no evidence it built a new Gozo hospital or refurbished Gozo General hospital. It had not added any “tourism beds” on which the whole viability of the concession depended.
Rather than values and high professional standards, all the facts and evidence presented in court led the magistrate to one conclusion:
“The court has no doubt that Steward engaged in fraudulent actions for its own profit at the expense of Maltese and Gozitan citizens. The actions of Steward are deplorable and demonstrate an utter lack of respect towards its obligations and the judicial process… Steward attempted to influence the final decision of this court with the sole objective of gaining financial advantage while failing to fulfil its obligations.”
Best to keep an eye on the State Advocate, let’s not forget that 2 weeks ago he was defending the contract.
We need to be even more afraid of what ‘deals’ are still hiding.
I would prefer to put at least all ministers, the police commissioner and the state advocate under house arrest and freeze their accounts.
Malta qed tibbrilla fl-importazzjoni tal-imbarazz u l-iskart li jarmu l-agħar pajjiżi dinjin. L-isfaċċatamenti fil-ftehim Vitals korrott minn kull naħa u maħsub biex jisloħ lill-poplu u lill-marid, hu xempju eċċellenti tal-legat ta’ Muscat li l-ebda poplu f’sikktu m’għandu jaċċetta. L-ispjega brillanti tal-kirurgu mhux biex turi din l-importazzjoni moqżieża bla mistħija imma turi li l-gvern attwali hu l-istess eżatt bħal ta’ qablu u mitluf f’cover-up li l-poplu se jiddeplora.
Let us see now who will be on Malta’s side and who will betray the country.
As one is accustomed to it, the articles written by Kevin Cassar have lots of the details that matter. The Times of Malta published an article today in which there are several quotations from Stewards statement to the break up of this contract because they have decided to leave Malta for good.
The best part in it is, that Steward is blatantly calling the present Maltese government ‘corrupt’. Well, corruption isn’t a one-way street and never was. This statement, even when it proves what many people already know for years, is good enough to backfire on the Steward company itself. The anger that has driven this statement of theirs shines through and frankly, I couldn’t do without laughing at their hypocrisy and now acting the victim whereas, as this article here tells about the failings of Steward itself. A perfect rant published by the other part of the ‘corrupt deal’.
The threats Steward dished out towards the Maltese govt, are in my opinion more directed to the PL as the governing party. That foreign investors are leaving Malta is certainly partly due to the way the PL rules Malta, but it also sheds a light on those companies themselves and what they really understand by their so called ‘high standards’. It merely means ‘high amounts of money’ to get. That there won’t be foreign investment in Malta might be right for the time being, as long as the PL is in government.
That other foreign companies might choose Malta as a place for their business is never excluded and given that there will be a change in government, whenever this might take place, other foreign investors who appreciate a raliable and non-corrupt governing party might replace those who left and are leaving. But I also would anticipate that a future non-PL govt of Malta would rather have a closer look at the credibility, reliability and seriousity of companies who would like to invest in Malta and make the place a home for their work.
Looks like PM Abela has already passed the point of the peak in his career as PM of Malta and the decline in standards of governing, which his party has been persisting with for years, is finally catching up with himself. Prosit Prim Ministru!
We have to thank Daphne, bless her soul, for exposing these fraudsters at the very first instance.
In my opinion, Steward were simply looking after the interests of their shareholders, and whilst certainly not blameless, they could be somewhat excused! After all, they managed to negotiate, in any way possible, what for them was the bargain of the century.
Our attention should zeroed in on those who signed off and approved this fraudulent, immoral and shameful agreement, the details of which were hidden from not only the public but also from oversight.
It is definitely Muscat and his merry men who should be made to pay.
I get where your coming from but they promised to improve services in every department and BUILD hospitals! They did none of either, so yes they did feather their own nest but renaged on written contracts and in my opinion they are just as culpable as the corrupt bandits that lined their own pockets from the honest taxpayers that voted for them and trusted them.
They should direct their e-mail requests to JM and KM !!!
How about Interpol issuing a Red Alert for the Steward crooks who signed this fraudulent ,crooked deal!?? And how about Gaffa and the inept A.G. arresting the Burmarrad Bum , the Sliema Shitehead and their mates involved in this fraudulent,corrupt deal?!?