Abela taking public for a ride over when he knew of Steward €100m penalty – Grech

PN leader Bernard Grech says PM treating people like fools when he says he was only aware of the €100 million exit penalty for Steward after it was agreed

PN leader Bernard Grech
PN leader Bernard Grech

Opposition leader Bernard Grech took Prime Minister Robert Abela to task over claims that as Cabinet consultant in 2019, he only got to know of the Steward side-letter for a €100 million exit clause after the deal was inked.

The controversy over former Labour minister Konrad Mizzi’s side-letter to the American hospitals concessionaire continues, this time with Abela claiming he was only aware of the Steward’s get-out clause in 2019 after the agreement was inked by Mizzi.

Mizzi agreed in the summer of 2019 to a €100 million penalty payable by the Maltese government, should the controversial hospitals concession be annulled by a Maltese court of law.

“Abela thinks he can fool the public when he tries to threaten Steward with penalties for not honouring their contract: he knows they are already breaching their contractual obligations."

“It pays Abela to say he was unaware of the €100 million liability for Vitals [sic] when he was then a consultant to Prime Minister who authorised these penalties,” Grech said.

Abela has said his government will insist that Steward honours all its contractual obligations, despite doubts on this arising from a lawsuit filed by former PN leader Adrian Delia requesting that the court’s rescind the concession first awarded to Vitals Global Healthcare, and then sold on to Steward Healthcare.

“In the meantime, Abela is still paying Steward €69 million a year of a sub-par health service and phantom works. Abela should stop these payments for a vitiated contact, and give people their money back. This is what we’re doing as an opposition.”