Junior minister denies Azzopardi claims of interest in prefab hospital

Clayton Bartolo hits back at Azzopardi over MP’s claim of ‘incriminating evidence’ on prefab COVID hospital

Parliamentary Secretary Clayton Bartolo
Parliamentary Secretary Clayton Bartolo

Parliamentary Secretary for financial services Clayton Bartolo has denied claims by shadow justice ministert Jason Azzopardi, who alleged in Parliament that Bartolo had an interest in a tender for a prefabricated hospital.

In comments to MaltaToday, Bartolo declard that he neither showed nor had any interest in the modular hospital.

Nationalist Party MP Jason Azzopardi yesterday called on the acting police commissioner to investigate Bartolo’s alleged interest in the government’s prefabricated hospital tender, claiming he had “incriminating information” which suggested the parliamentary secretary had taken interest in the tender.

Asked for his reaction, Bartolo hit back saying Azzopardi had been “discredited over and over again, with the latest allegation being his accusation of voluntary homicide against the Prime Minister and others. His credibility is already in tatters. This will continue to erode it further.”

Government had issued a call for the purchase, delivery and installation of a prefabricated hospital capable of caring for over 90 patients at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. The government later announced it would not be pursuing the idea, as the number of COVID-19 patients remained low.

Azzopardi had claimed back in March that the hospital was “a scandal in the making”, a statement that prompted Health Minister Chris Fearne to order an investigation into the claims of wrongdoing.

Jason Azzopardi said that the health minister had avoided “not without reason” a parliamentary question asked by himself, which looked to understand Bartolo’s role in the prefabricated hospital. “I alleged that a Parliamentary Secretary, not within the health ministry and who does not have anything to do with health matters and contracts, took a particular interest in a tender worth many, many millions,” he said.

He also said that Bartolo did this without informing both the health and finance minister. “Will the Police Commissioner now take an interest to investigate the interest that this Parliamentary Secretary took in a public call for a prefabricated hospital which has now been abandoned after I outed it as a sham?” he said.

He also noted that according to law, the police commissioner has the obligation to open an investigation into all information which comes to his attention, even without a formal report.

READ ALSO: Deputy PM launches investigation into claims on prefabricated hospital bids

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