Court decision on Steward’s pending VAT bill of €37million put on hold

Chief Justice postpones decision indefinitely.


Aqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti.

A €37 million outstanding VAT bill sent to Steward Health Care almost two years ago remains unpaid, with a decision on its future now hanging in the balance as the Court has put its final judgment on hold.

The original tax bill was issued in 2021, followed by a judgement stating Steward Health Care should pay it. The healthcare company challenged it in the Court of Appeal, but last week, Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti said the proclamation of his final judgement was “sine die” (postponed indefinitely).

This means the proceedings (in this case, the ruling) have been paused with no date for resumption.

The Court of Appeal’s declaration was made after Steward’s lawyer, Joseph Camilleri, informed the court that he was no longer accepting any notifications for the case on behalf of his client, Steward Health Care.

Chetcuti then told the registrar to notify Steward Health Care that a judgement had been reached but would only be pronounced when the company received the official notification.

A legal expert consulted by The Shift said that while this situation is “not normal”, it does not mean Steward Health Care will manage to avoid a final decision through legal manoeuvring.

Asked what happens if the Court registrar does not manage to notify Steward, not an uncommon occurrence, the expert said that once a case is put “sine die”, a six-month timeframe is triggered.

“If in six months nothing happens, Steward’s legal challenge will fall through, and the original court decision stands.”

Last July, the Court quashed Steward Health Care’s original challenge to the 2021 VAT bill, declaring that the health company owed the government €37 million in unpaid taxes and must pay up.

Steward Health Care contended that it was its predecessor, Vitals Global Healthcare, the recipient of the original “fraudulent” tender, which had not paid most of the taxes and, therefore, it was not responsible.

The Court dismissed its claims, stating that Steward Health Care was responsible for the takeover of the concession, including all contracts, bills and debts.

Steward Health Care has declared that it did not conduct due diligence before taking over the concession.

Earlier this week, the Opposition filed a complaint with the State Advocate over inaction in recovering funds from the individuals and entities involved in the now-defunct €2 billion concession.

A magisterial inquiry on the deal is still ongoing, but police are yet to take any action on the deal declared fraudulent by the Court.


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Francis Said
Francis Said
2 months ago

Now that’s a new way to evade paying what is due. Evading payment of VAT is a criminal offence.
No due diligence was carried out by Steward. Again an extraordinary action that any business entity, with any sort of deal or takeover is crazy to say the least.
The whole affair stinks to high heaven, and lo and behold did not bother the corrupt government remained inactive.

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