Muscat reportedly linked to Steward bribe fund, denies claims

Ex-PM Joseph Muscat denied the claims on social media on Sunday

Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri, and Konrad Mizzi are suspected to have received bribes from a €1 million political support fund created by Steward Health Care.

Reported in The Sunday Times of Malta, the funds were held by Accutor AG, a Swiss company that received €3.6 million from Steward Healthcare during the period when it took over the 30-year concession of three Maltese state hospitals from Vitals Global Healthcare.

Investigations have concluded that it is close to impossible that Muscat, Schembri, and Mizzi all independently formed relationships with Accutor, they reported.

Meanwhile, former Accutor director Kamal Sharma has claimed that €18 million were set aside for the three men who are currently facing criminal charges following the vitals inquiry.

Muscat, Mizzi, and Schembri – alongside 16 other defendants – are set to be charged in court on May 28 for money laundering, fraud, and conspiracy to commit an offence punishable by imprisonment for more than four years. They will also be charged for participating in a criminal organisation with more than ten members.

Sharma alleged Shaukat Ali, a Vitals consultant, told him that Muscat was receiving €15,000 monthly while all three men were partners in the hospitals deal.

Posting to Facebook, Muscat denied the allegations while also publishing a response he claims he sent to Times of Malta on Saturday when asked why the inquiry was unable to find proof of the work he was paid for.

"If the authorities required supporting documentation for my work, they could have asked me for the necessary information,” Muscat wrote.

“I had also written to [the] police soon after learning that the inquiry was concluded. Instead of calling me to provide evidence to show that the allegations against me were simply a pack of lies, a decision was taken to issue charges against me without hearing me, against all convention.

“I will now provide this evidence in the adequate forum at the appropriate time.

“Like I was proven right on the Egrant saga, I will be proven right again on Egrant 2.”

Muscat claimed “an Indian person” is submitting hearsay evidence which is being taken at face value.

“I find it curious that your sources have chosen to be very selective with you and not to share the extensive part of the inquiry that rely on hearsay evidence that claims that I benefitted from €18 million annually.”

Muscat ended his response by reiterating his call for the hospitals inquiry to be made available to the public, believing it to be within the public’s interest to see the full report rather than see it through “selective leaks.”