Vitals investor withdraws court injunction, paving the way for hospitals concession transfer

Vitals investor Ashok Rattehalli has withdrawn legal proceedings he instituted to block the transfer of the hospitals concession to American company Steward Health Care

One of the investors in Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) has withdrawn a prohibitory injunction he filed in January to block the transfer of the concession for the running of three of Malta’s public hospitals to US healthcare operator Steward Health Care.

The withdrawal paves the way for the transfer to take place.

Rattehalli filed the injunction two weeks ago over fears that he would be left with nothing once the transfer was completed, despite his agreement with Sri Ram Tumuluri and Mark Pawley, the other two investors.

VGH are currently in talks with Steward over the transfer of the concession, which cannot take place until Rattehalli’s case is withdrawn or resolved. Rattehalli has now withdrawn the court application.

Read also: Vitals investor again tries to stop hospitals concession sale to American company

Back in December, Rattehalli had filed an identical injunction, which he withdrew after having been given assurances that his interests as a shareholder in VGH would be protected.

Rattehalli, says he had been one of the group of technical, administrative and financial consultants who prepared the offer for the management and administration of a number of hospitals in Malta and Gozo in 2014, before the government had issued a request for proposals to part-privatise St Luke's, Karin Grech and Gozo hospitals.

Documents filed in court by Rattehali showed that VGH investors had prepated their bid for the hospitals concession several months before the government issued a public call for proposals, giving rise to speculation the whole tendering process was a done deal.

The development comes as talks between the Health Ministry and the doctors' union are continuing. The Medical Association of Malta was opposed to the Vitals deal and resorted to industrial action when it became known that the company was selling out just 21 months after being awarded the concession. MAM is insisting the government should drop the agreement once Vitals failed to comply with the contract requirements.

More in National