'Assume responsibility in hospitals' deal and stop siding with corrupt fraudsters' - Grech and Delia tell PM

Bernard Grech and Adrian Delia tell PM Abela to stop shifting his responsibility onto the others, and assume his role in the hospitals' deal

From left to right: Alex Borg, Adrian Delia, Bernard Grech and Chris Said
From left to right: Alex Borg, Adrian Delia, Bernard Grech and Chris Said

Opposition leader Bernard Grech and former PN leader Adrian Delia told Prime Minister Robert Abela to assume his responsibility in the "fraud and corrupt" Vitals-Steward deal and hand over the hospitals back to the Maltese and Gozitans.

During a press conference on Saturday morning in front of the Gozo General Hospital, Grech and Delia, along with PN MPs Alex Borg and Chris Said, called out Abela for distancing himself from the deal.

Mr Justice Francesco Depasquale delivered a damning ruling against Vitals/Steward Healthcare, annulled the hospitals' contract and ordered the buildings be returned to the State.

The deal was originally struck in 2015, when the government granted a concession for the running of three hospitals to Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH).  The hospitals’ concession had been negotiated by Konrad Mizzi, the health minister at the time.

“Now you have no choice – there’s a court order. Hand over the hospitals back to the Maltese and Goztians from the hands of the foreigners,” Grech said. "Robert Abela has no other choice. He can’t keep absolving himself from his responsibility and blaming others.”

He said that when Abela became an MP in 2017, he kept defending the contract and voted yearly to increase the millions allocated to Steward Healthcare. When the transfer was carried out between the two companies, Abela was legal advisor to then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

“Abela kept siding with the fraudsters and the corrupt and not with the Maltese and Gozitans. He can’t keep using the excuse that he was not involved. He threw all the cabinet and the former Prime Minister [Joseph Muscat] under the bus,” Grech said.

The PN leader said that on Monday, Abela has to accept the PN’s request for an urgent discussion on the hospitals' deal and respond to this “theft.”

Still euphoric from Friday’s “historic” victory, former PN leader Adrian Delia said that the Labour government had falsely promised a state-of-the-art and world-class new hospital in Gozo 10 years ago.

The Nationalist MP had filed the case to get the agreement cancelled in 2018 when still the Opposition leader.

“[Vitals and Steward Healthcare] had to invest heavily in the hospitals, but they did none of that. Instead of dissolving the contract, the government kept increasing their budget at the expense of the Maltese and Gozitans,” Delia said. “There was one intention only – to defraud the Maltese and Gozitans through maneuvers and premeditation.”

He ridiculed Abela for absolving himself from the deal and Muscat for dragging the cabinet through the mud.

“Abela was involved in the case and kept defending those corrupt foreigners that keep robbing us to this day. You are responsible in primis," Delia said.