Delia Vitals court case: Member of evaluation committee had reservations after two bids fell through

The court case to rescind the hospitals concession contract initiated by Adrian Delia continues with a member of the evaluation committee admitting reservations after two out of three bidders were disqualified

Adrian Delia exiting Castille after the Vitals court case
Adrian Delia exiting Castille after the Vitals court case

A member on the hospitals concession tender evaluation committee has admitted to feeling uneasy after two of three bids were non-compliant but did nothing about it.

Robert Borg testified in court on Wednesday that he did not act on the discomfort of having two of the three bidders disqualified from the start.

Borg was a member of the evaluation committee that selected Vitals Global Heathcare as the preferred company to acquire three public hospitals.

He was testifying in court proceedings initiated by Opposition leader Adrian Delia to have the multi-million euro concessions contract rescinded after the obscure company went belly-up and none of the promised investment was made.

“I didn’t like how there were two non-compliant bids from three,” Borg admitted under oath.

Manuel Castagna, a partner at financial services firm Nexia BT, also testified in today’s sitting. Castagna also sat on the evaluation board.

Posted by MaltaToday on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Delia, represented by lawyer Edward Debono, questioned how Castagna and Borg came to the conclusion that Vitals had the financial health to go forward with the project.

The witnesses explained that while the company only had €1,000 worth of capital at the time of the bid, proof of funding sources provided comfort that the company will be financially stable.

Castagna stressed that his role on the evaluation and adjudication committee was to single out a company that the government can negotiate with for the redesigning and building of several public hospitals.

"The government and Projects Malta had every right to terminate the performance guarantee, or even the contract altogether," he said.

In 2018, it was revealed that a Memorandum of Understanding with individuals involved in the Vitals concession had been signed prior to the request for proposals for the running of public hospitals was published by the government.

Castagna and Borg said they were unaware of this memorandum. Delia called for this memorandum to be presented in court by an official from the Office of the Prime Minister.

Judge Francesco Depasquale presided over the case. The next sitting will take place on the 18 November at midday.

Delia takes his message to three ministries

Meanwhile, after the sitting ended, Delia went to the Health Ministry to invite Chris Fearne to join him in his opposition towards the hospitals concession.

Fearne quickly took to Twitter, asserting that he will not be used in the internal fighting between different factions in the Nationalist Party.

"I do not need the guidance of Delia on matters of national interest. Maltese politics deserves seriousness, not theatrics," Fearne wrote.

Delia then visited the Office of the Prime Minister and the Finance Ministry to hand them a letter, informing them of today’s court developments.

“I will continue holding them personally to account for this concession through which taxpayers are being robbed daily,” Delia told journalists.