[WATCH] Adrian Delia says government should negotiate with Steward from a position of strength

Nationalist MP Adrian Delia rebukes Joseph Muscat for failing to indicate what decisions his Cabinet took on the hospitals concession deal and insists the current administration must negotiate with Steward Healthcare from a position of strength

PN MP Adrian Delia initiated a court case to rescind the hospitals concession contract that was signed with Vitals and later transferred to Steward Healthcare
PN MP Adrian Delia initiated a court case to rescind the hospitals concession contract that was signed with Vitals and later transferred to Steward Healthcare

Government should not approach negotiations with Steward Healthcare from a position of weakness, Adrian Delia said, insisting that any move to acquire back three public hospitals militated in favour of the court case he initiated.

The former Opposition leader said he would rather not be too judgmental with the deal currently being negotiated by Robert Abela's administration since he was unaware of the details.

Yesterday MaltaToday broke the news that government is planning to take back the emphyteusis deal granted to Vitals, with Steward Healthcare maintaining management operations of the Gozo, St Luke's and Karin Grech hospitals.

Delia said that any direction which would see the hospitals brought back under the Maltese government is a direction in favour of his case in court. "But we shouldn't negotiate with these people from a position of weakness but from a position of strength," he insisted.

Delia was speaking to journalists outside the law courts after a rowdy court hearing in which former prime minister Joseph Muscat testified.

Delia said Vitals fulfilled none of the requirements set out in the hospitals concession agreement and Muscat confirmed this in court.

"I asked him whether the supposed investment from Vitals took place - obviously he was unable to answer because it didn't happen," the former Opposition leader said on the steps of the courthouse in Valletta.

The PN has long been criticising the deal for being a burden on public finances. Delia had initiated a court case to have the deal rescinded and Muscat testified in the proceedings today.

During the sitting, Muscat defended the deal and insisted that the concession, at most, costs taxpayers €68,000 per day.

"If Joseph Muscat thinks that it is acceptable for the public to be stolen €68,000 a day, I think it's unacceptable," Delia said after the sitting.

The ex-Opposition leader noted that Muscat did not want to comment on whether a €100 million clause was in fact signed by government.

"He said that there were 12 decisions taken in Cabinet, but he can't tell us what's in them!" Delia exclaimed.

Muscat had said that Cabinet was aware of every decision taken in relation to this contract but Delia remarked that ex-finance minister Edward Scicluna told a different story in his testimony.

"We have at least one liar for sure... Maybe in his testimony, Konrad Mizzi could illuminate us with the truth," Delia said.

He said that Prime Minister Robert Abela should clarify with his Cabinet, a large part of which has remained the same since Muscat's administration, whether Muscat is lying or not.