[WATCH] Delia’s sweet victory and a damning judgment that should lead to government resigning

Nationalist MP Adrian Delia’s five-year court saga to rescind the Steward Healthcare hospitals deal came to a definite end last week. He won the battle and, in the aftermath, sat down with MaltaToday to discuss the impact of the court decision. 

Nationalist MP Adrian Delia
Nationalist MP Adrian Delia

An appeals court judgment officially annulled Steward Health Care's contract to manage three state hospitals in Malta and Gozo. 

It was the final stamp on a deal described by the court as fraudulent and borne out of collusion. 

The court’s verdict represents a sweet victory for Nationalist MP Adrian Delia. On 19 February 2018 he filed a court case against the government and Vitals asking for the contract to be cancelled and for the three hospitals to be returned to the public. 

He won and when I sit down with him in the aftermath of the court ruling, he tells me that such a scathing decision by the courts should lead to mass resignations from government. 

“That’s what happens in a normal country. With a sentence like this, where the government is guilty of conspiracy against its own people and country, that is what happens,” Delia says.  

He insists the Nationalist Party is not on a witch-hunt to score political points, saying those tasked with defending the country’s interests have failed their duty.  

But it’s not just elected officials who are to blame, he tells me. “How can the Attorney General be found guilty of collusion and keep her job? She should resign immediately, when she is found responsible of something like this. The same with the CEO of Indis. How come no one is shouldering any kind of responsibility?” 

Despite the string of allegations and stories which have emerged on the Labour government, the PN has yet to make significant inroads with the electorate.  

Delia says the country needs to pass through a natural political cycle but feels the sentiment among people is changing. 

“Although it seems like a very long time, we are 10 years into the Labour government. Historically, people in Malta seem to want a decade of the same government, but now people are getting fed up. What happened in this case is shaking things up,” he insists.

The following are excerpts from the interview.


When saying members of government should shoulder political responsibility, what are you saying? Who should resign? Chris Fearne, Robert Abela…? 

This case was filed against the Prime Minister as the leader of the government, not as an individual. Apart from this case, we filed a judicial protest, where we held responsible all the government. This is because the Budget was looming closer, and we had warned them that fraud has been uncovered in the deal and that it was a corrupt deal, because Steward themselves had declared it in court. If they knew it was a corrupt deal, how are we still going to vote in favour of giving them more money - €70 million and €80 million, for two years straight, to someone who is declaring themselves they are part of a corrupt deal... The government knew full well it was voting money in favour of a corrupt company and continued to do so. Therefore, the MPs have to shoulder responsibility.

So what responsibility are you speaking of? What are you expecting from MPs? 

In Brussels, following the terrorist attack last week, in a couple of hours, the minister responsible handed in his resignation. He wasn’t part of the attack, but because he could have done something better to prevent it, following clear warnings, he felt he should shoulder responsibility.  

Here we not only had warnings, but we also had the company itself saying the deal was fraudulent. The appeals court is not only saying that those responsible for protecting the country have failed, but continued to pay millions to hide what was happening.  

Not just those MPs who were there at the start; not only those who handed the contract but also after, and so even those who are there today. Failed milestone after milestone, they continued to pump in millions.

So, in a nutshell, what should happen?  

There should be resignations.

So, you are saying government should resign en masse? 

That’s what happens in a normal country. With a sentence like this, where the government is guilty of conspiracy against its own people and country, that is what happens.

Joseph Muscat, in his only comment on the appeal decision, said the project was not successful because of hidden interests who were against the modernisation of the public health sector. What is your reaction to this? 

I understand he does not have much else to say and is speaking cryptically to try and distance himself from any type of guilt, but the court was clear on his involvement. It is also the same thing Chris Fearne is doing.  

You have Robert Abela blaming Joseph Muscat; you have Chris Fearne blaming Konrad Mizzi; you have Joseph Muscat blaming hidden interests. And who will the people blame?

Today, you personally have the Nationalist Party’s support, including that of the leader. They are congratulating you for this win. But this was not always the case. What changed? Is it because this victory now benefits the party politically? 

When I decided to file the case, I did so because it was in the interest of the country. It was no easy decision, because there are dramatic ramifications. I operate within a party, and so I must work within its structures. My victory is the party’s victory.

Despite the damning decisions on the hospitals deal, despite other scandals which have emerged over the summer, it seems the PN still has not won over the electorate’s trust. In MaltaToday’s and other newspaper’s surveys, people still prefer to say that they will not vote. The PN is still not doing something right… 

I think that is the most consistent data set across all surveys for a number of months and years now. My reading is that beyond the PN not gaining any new votes, beyond the PL losing its support, people are moving away from the old mentality of voting according to their family’s allegiance, and I think that is healthy for the country. The PN should continue fighting these battles to show its consistency on rule of law and good governance, because only it can fight these battles. The Labour Party cannot.