Updated | Repubblika seeks urgent European investigative order on Vitals

Repubblika file court application after revelation that former VGH director Ram Tumuluri liquidated nine offshore companies linked to Malta hospitals concession

The lease agreement established with Vitals, and the following sale of the concession by Vitals to Steward Health Care lead to an outcry across the islands
The lease agreement established with Vitals, and the following sale of the concession by Vitals to Steward Health Care lead to an outcry across the islands

Updated with court decree

Repubblika has filed a court application on Friday asking Magistrate Claire Zammit Stafrace to ask for an urgent European Investigative Order on Vitals Global Healthcare.

This came after The Shift News revealed that Vitals frontman Sri Ram Tumuluri is shutting down nine of the offshore companies that were linked to the hospitals concession he was involved in.

In a decree delivered by the magistrate on Friday evening, the court ordered that Repubblika’s application be notified to the Attorney General so that "all necessary steps" are taken to satisfy the monitoring order.

The court reserved pronouncing itself on the rest of Repubblika’s request, namely for a European Investigative Order to be issued, to a later date.

At the start of the year, The Shift News also revealed that Vitals frontmen Ram Tumuluri and Shaukat Ali used offshore companies in Jersey to secretly purchase a medical equipment company with exclusivity for the Maltese hospitals they were running.

READ ALSO: Vitals owners secretly purchased medical supplier with exclusivity for Malta hospitals

Vitals were controversially awarded a hospitals’ privatisation contract they could not fulfil.

Repubblika's court application, filed by PN MP Jason Azzopardi, read that Tumuluri, the subject of a court investigation, is attempting to eliminate any traces of wrongdoing since he is liquidating the offshore companies related to the Maltese business deal.

The court application asks magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit to immediately issue a European Investigative Order and a monitoring order, together with any other measures the court deems necessary to prevent the stultification of any eventual magisterial inquiry and to prevent traces of wrongdoing from being destroyed.

“The applicants want that all the evidence and traces be preserved in the interests of justice and now can better understand why the suspected persons asked for two months to file their reply instead of the week originally proposed by the court, and that is to clean up the scene of the crime as much as possible in the meantime,” the application read.

On 13 May, Repubblika had filed an application asking for the launching of a magisterial inquiry into the contracts relating to the privatisation of hospitals, citing reasonable suspicion that these were in breach of anti-money laundering laws.

Today’s urgent application was prompted by the publication of an article by The Shift News which states that efforts were being made by those involved to cover their tracks. 

“Recent company registry filings in Jersey show that Sri Ram Tumuluri has placed nine of the previously hidden Jersey companies involved in the Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) concession’s web of offshore companies and contracts into liquidation. These offshore companies, revealed as the result of an investigation by The Shift News, appear to have been established to extract ‘commissions’ from the Maltese companies holding the concession in Malta," the application read.