Vitals owners secretly purchased medical supplier with exclusivity for Malta hospitals

Vitals front-men Ram Tumuluri and Shaukat Ali used offshore companies in Jersey to secretly purchase a medical equipment company with exclusivity for the Maltese hospitals they were running

Former Vitals Global Healthcare director Ram Tumuluri
Former Vitals Global Healthcare director Ram Tumuluri

The hidden owners of Vitals Global Healthcare, who were controversially awarded a hospitals’ privatisation contract they could not fulfil, reportedly funded the takeover of a medical equipment company that now has exclusivity with new hospital owners Steward Healthcare.

According to a share purchase agreement published by The Shift News, the owners of Vitals – Ram Tumuluri and Shaukat Ali Abdul Ghafoor – funded the takeover of medical equipment company Technoline when it was acquired by its former sales and marketing manager, Ivan Vassallo, using a €5 million loan from one of VGH’s owners.

Technoline was granted exclusivity to supply medical equipment to the three hospitals formerly run by VGH, at a time when Tumuluri was taking decisions on how taxpayers’ money was being spent by Vitals to run three Maltese state hospitals.

According to the share purchase agreement for the sale of VGH to Steward Healthcare, Tumuluri and Shaukat Ali used offshore companies in Jersey to grant a €5.14 million loan so that Vassallo buys out his boss and purchase Technoline in December 2016.

READ MORE

• Friends in Vital places: Saint James hospital, the botched sale and the middleman

Vitals owner reveals how hospitals privatisation deal was all sewn up months before tender

According to a diagram of ownership published by The Shift News, three companies – Evergreen Global Ventures, New Horizons Investments, and Mount Everest Investments – are the owners of Vitals Global Healthcare Jersey, which in turn owns Vitals Procurement Jersey.

Vitals Procurement gave Vassallo the €5.14 million loan to his personal company Gateway Solutions.

The owners of the original Jersey companies include Tumuluri (New Horizons) and Shaukat Ali (Mount Everest).

The loan is referred to as a convertible loan in the agreement signed by VGH with Steward, which means the loan can be converted into shares for the hidden owners to take over Technoline.

Only three months after Vassallo took control of Technoline, VGH entrusted this company with the procurement of all of its medical supplies in a done deal that agreed to just 19 days after the takeover.

The details suggest that VGH’s directors and owners were in fact awarding the Technoline deal to themselves by making it an exclusive supplier to Vitals.

VGH was granted a 30-year concession that can be extended to 99 years for the management of the St Luke’s, Karin Grech and the Gozo hospitals. Vitals sold off their concession for a nominal €1 to Steward Healthcare, with €55 million in debt.

The public hospitals’ concession was negotiated by then health minister Konrad Mizzi when an unknown consortium, Vitals Global Healthcare, was selected to take over the running of the three hospitals.

The concession is now under investigation by the Auditor General.

More in National