Attorney General gave us advice on Vitals deal, former permanent secretaries claim

Three former permanent secretaries claim Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg provided legal advice on the hospitals concession when she was State Advocate

Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg
Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg

Three former permanent secretaries at Malta’s Health and Finance ministries, currently awaiting to be charged in connection with the Vitals hospital fraud, have highlighted a potential conflict of interest on the part of the Attorney General.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Alfred Camilleri, Joseph Rapa and Ronald Mizzi filed a judicial protest against AG Victoria Buttigieg on Monday, pointing out that when Buttigieg had been occupying her previous role, that of State Advocate, she had attended a number of formal meetings about the hospitals deal, and had provided legal advice and guidance to the same Permanent secretaries whom she was now accusing of fraud.

Buttigeg had been included by the three plaintiffs in emails, circulating a draft position for the Government of Malta on the topic of the concession, specifically for her attention and advice, they said.

“At no stage had any shortcomings on the part of the plaintiffs been declared. Ironically, the discussions about the concession and the draft negotiated had not been signed, solely due to the fact that the plaintiffs had refused, for several reasons. They did not want to proceed with the new agreement as negotiated!”

Camilleri had, in fact, referred a number of Steward’s claims for investigation, reads the judicial protest.

Camilleri, Mizzi and Rapa are objecting to the conflict arising from the fact that the decision to arraign them had been taken with respect to the very same actions which they had carried out on Buttigieg’s advice.

They noted that nowhere was this fact mentioned in the conclusions of the Magisterial Inquiry which had been published yesterday. Neither did it mention the fact that it had been thanks to them that the agreement negotiated had not been signed. 

The judicial protest urged the AG to reconsider her decision to arraign them on criminal charges, or be held liable for the damages and costs they will be incurring as a result.

Lawyers Stefano Filletti, Michael Sciriha, Franco Debono and Maurice Meli signed the judicial protest.