Aqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti.
Following recent revelations that a small Gozitan firm is suing Steward Health Care over unpaid bills, more companies have filed court cases asking the government’s beleaguered concessionaire to settle outstanding invoices for various services.
Sources close to the Gozo General Hospital told The Shift that some eight court cases have already been instituted against Steward, and more are expected in the coming weeks as the company is refusing to pay for services it received despite the hundreds of millions of euro it received from the government.
According to the sources, Steward’s management told debtors to ask the government as the problem was no longer theirs.
Research conducted by The Shift shows that the largest case, in terms of value, was instituted by Zenith Malta Division Ltd, part of the Zenith consultancy group, claiming unpaid bills of more than €1 million.
According to the filed court cases, Steward has also failed to pay Signal 8 Security Services Ltd some €160,000, Malta Healthcare Caterers Ltd some €155,000, Support Services Ltd some €678,000, Health Services Group Ltd some €64,000 and Orthopaedic Centre Malta Ltd some €181,000.
The Shift was also informed of other pending bills with the government, which will likely result in more court cases.
Steward, which took over the 30-year scandalous public hospital concession from Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) following the latter’s insolvency just a few years after the deal was struck with disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat, had to pack its bags and leave last year following a Court decision that the deal as fraudulent.
Between 2015 and 2023, the government passed on to Steward some €400 million, even though insolvency issues cropped up at VGH soon after taking over the three public hospitals.
VGH – an unknown company which in 2015 was given the concession was forced to transfer its concession to Steward in 2018 after the original concessionaire ran into serious financial difficulties. To do so, VGH and Steward were given the government’s green light, with Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne describing the move as “the real deal”.
Both VGH and Seward failed to deliver on any of their contracted obligations.
Steward is also facing a steady stream of court cases in the US over unpaid rent, services bills, and other debts.