Opinion: Waiting for the magistrate

On 19 June 2016, Ram Tumuluri, standing next to Health Minister Chris Fearne, bragged that Vitals had partnered with Walter Reed Medical Centre, a leading American military hospital specialised in artificial limbs and footwear, to offer rehabilitation services in Malta. Of course, Tumuluri was lying.

His claim was a total fabrication. I wrote to Walter Reed, and not only did they confirm there was no partnership, but they had no clue about Vitals and barely even knew where Malta was.

That wasn’t Tumuluri’s only big lie that day. At that press conference, he declared that Vitals would “invest €220 million over the next two years to transform the three hospitals into state-of-the-art centres, increasing bed capacity and attracting medical tourism”. 

Just 21 months later, Tumuluri had escaped with millions of euro in his pockets.

“The company, Vitals Global Healthcare, will create 800 new jobs, half in Gozo,” Tumuluri has said on that warm June day in 2016, while Chris Fearne nodded approvingly before taking over and fueling the fiction.

“The advantage of this is that the capital investment to increase beds and improve the quality of the hospitals will not be coming from public funds, apart from the fact that it will help the country tap the medical tourism market,” Fearne added.

The cardiologist and former Nationalist MP Albert Fenech was paraded at that press conference. He had been promised funding to set up a cardiac angiosuite in Gozo and the position of heading it.

“Vitals left all the necessary work for this hospital in my hands,” he said with his ego sufficiently massaged. But the late Albert Fenech was duped as the devious Tumuluri had exploited his credibility.

Fenech duly obliged, chiming in with more hogwash. “It is the first time that medical tourism will be fully exploited.  The respected cardiologist announced that tens of thousands of US and Canadian patients are flying around the globe for medical care, and “Malta could tap this potential”.

Fearne jumped on that bandwagon.  “Glad to see that PN spokesman Prof Albert Fenech has endorsed government’s vision in taking forward the health services in Malta and Gozo,” he tweeted.

The Labour Party issued a gloating statement: “One of the PN’s own MPs is employed by the consortium in charge of an investment project that Simon Busuttil criticised so heavily”.

Konrad Mizzi taunted, “Glad that Fenech has endorsed the €200 million public-private partnership project to provide world class healthcare in Malta”.

Meanwhile, Tumuluri continued to milk that cow dry. He promised 450 beds in a brand new Gozo hospital,  another 350 more beds at St Luke’s Hospital, 320 beds at Karin Grech Hospital, and a new nursing school at St Luke’s. We all know how that turned out.

“How will Vitals make its profit?” the press asked.  “The real profit is in the hundreds of other beds Vitals will use for medical tourism purposes,” Vitals replied.

Seven years later, no medical tourist has set foot on Gozo, far less in the new 450-bed Gozo hospital.

“How will Vitals finance this project?” Fearne and Tumuluri were asked.  “The capital investment will be divided as follows: 30% from shareholder funds and 70% through bank loans and credit institutions”.

The press later revealed that the Vitals’ total share capital was just €1,200.

Yet Tumuluri promised he would invest €220 million over two years.  No wonder the appeals court concluded the whole project was a total fraud.

Fearne now wants to disassociate himself from the massive fraud completely. He was kept in the dark; he knew nothing. So why did he stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ram Tumuluri?

Fenech realised belatedly that he had been fooled. He commented in December 2021 that he had “absolutely changed my mind about the deal”. 

“In Gozo’s hospital, in particular, they were down to the last week of supplies… that’s when we started smelling something fishy,” he revealed.  But it was too late as Tumuluri was gone, with millions of euro of taxpayers’ money.

Fenech’s pride was severely dented. A prat had fooled the respected cardiologist. Two prats, actually.

“Whenever the name of Konrad Mizzi comes up, you smell a rat”, he added, “that guy can’t be trusted with anything”.

“The damned tragedy is that with all the filth that we have been allowing to happen and that we know about, given it’s all recorded and documented, very little has been done about it. Despite all that, people will again still be voting into power the same kind of morally deplete individual,” Fenech commented.

Fenech had no excuse because his friends and colleagues had tried to open his eyes. I was one of them. 

When he finally realised he’d been exploited, he expressed remorse.

“I trust you deeply regret having aided and abetted this scam,” I messaged him on 5 December 2019. He replied, “I certainly do, and left them after I had spoken to you”.

He said he had joined Vitals in good faith as he wanted to contribute to a better service for the public, but he was prepared to admit his mistake.

The same cannot be said of those who used him, humiliating him in the process. They knew exactly what they were up to as they conspired with Vitals to engineer the biggest fraud in Maltese history.

Meanwhile, the country waits impatiently for another magisterial inquiry to conclude, hoping those responsible for the €4 billion fraudulent deal will finally face justice. Fenech knew precisely who the senior government officials behind the scam were because they deceived him and the country. For Fenech to rest in peace, their crimes cannot go unpunished.

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Albert Beliard
Albert Beliard
29 days ago

Fearne now wants to disassociate himself from the massive fraud completely. He was kept in the dark; he knew nothing. So why did he stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ram Tumuluri?

Fearne has ‘no way out’ from this massive fraud together with his PPP associate con artist Canadian-Indian Ram Tumuluri and the rest of the criminals in the ‘medical tourism’ scheme which was setup to circumvent sanctions against the Iranian regime.

Fearne knew everything of the whole plot together with disgraced Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi despite the high risks and massive fraud involved with this money laundering scheme by shady foreign investors who had no prior experience in running hospitals. The collusion between the OPM and the corrupt police force has placed the country into ‘critical condition’ with the chance of a recovery being very slim to none.

They will learn that ignorance of the law is no excuse – and its GAME OVER WITH BILLIONS LOST – BUSTED!

Next time clean the ear wax out.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
29 days ago

Many of us who knew the late Professor Fenech were absolutely bewildered at the time due to his accepting to take part in Tumuluri’s pie in the sky (now proven fraudulent in the utmost degree).

It is good of Dr Cassar to take this opporunity to ‘re-habilitate’ Prof. Fenech in the public’s eyes and show what a truly respectable and respectful gentleman he was.

May he rest in peace and be rewarded for all the good he did in his lifetime.

Last edited 29 days ago by Joseph Tabone Adami
29 days ago

It is about time that some imagination is used , also known as AI these days.
Muscat paid out €130 million. Abela paid out €270 million.
There respective Finance Ministers Scicluna and Caruana were part of the Money Transfer..
The Money might have gone two ways both times .
Part of it might have been distributed around during one of the Cabinet meetings, brown envelopes full of €50 notes?
Having Diplomatic Passports makes this easy, cash back from the foreign friends.
Part went through the banks, which Bank , BOV? After all BOV is the goverment’s banker , no?
Muscat was present as a consultant to the gang when Abela took over and VGH became Stewards Health Care . Muscat made sure his cake was well preserved..
Fearne declared the REAL DEAL , while everything was done behind his back . A Real Cameleon wouldn’t had played it better.
If Abela does not cough up the €400 million , then the conclusion is that the Cabinet had their share of the millions.

Last edited 29 days ago by makjavel
Breitling lil Ministru
Breitling lil Ministru
28 days ago
Reply to  makjavel

Most of the stolen loot was ‘invested’ in real estate in Dubai in ‘The Palm’ area. Mizzi we know where you are right now!

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
28 days ago

Professor Fenech was so much dedicated to his profession and engulfed in his mission to genuinely care to see his patients getting better, that he was betrayed by the offer they made him to start a cardio unit in Gozo which he would have considered as his precious new baby.
Let’s not forget that this happened immediately after he was discarded by the Labour Government to replace him by one of their boys who, one must say, was very proficient in his profession and surely did not need to get stained with the political add-on, which in my opinion, was another back stab to his replacement who was used politically to bring in the betrayal of Profs Fenech to be used for the PR of their planned heist and to also embarass the PN and shut it up from the justified opposition to the smelly project.
The final knock out for Profs Fenech was not so much for being replaced, but more for not being allowed to still find his place in the new set up and being practically debarred from approaching the precincts of the hospital. This, to him, was not a stab in his back, but a stab in his heart.
Now we have all the facts, and I agree with you that before we see all the political crooks embroiled in this massive heist locked away in a prison cell, Profs Albert Fenech will not find the rest he really deserves.

Last edited 28 days ago by Godfrey Leone Ganado
Anthony Charles
Anthony Charles
28 days ago

A grave mistake from my end. It should be +1.

Leonard Schembri
Leonard Schembri
27 days ago

No wonder Albert Fenech was found dead at home with the ECG leads on his chest. That to me was calculated murder by the breed of snouting pigs who stole illicit money right from under our noses. And still roaming our streets pretending to be righteous men.

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