Technoline awarded €3.2 million Health Ministry contract

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne had publicly criticised a controversial procurement deal granting Technoline exclusivity at three of Malta’s public hospitals

The company was awarded a €3.2 million contract on the same day Health Minister Chris Fearne said the company's agreement with Steward Health Care should be scrapped
The company was awarded a €3.2 million contract on the same day Health Minister Chris Fearne said the company's agreement with Steward Health Care should be scrapped

Technoline was awarded a contract worth €3.2 million on the same day that Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne said that a deal granting the company exclusive procurement rights for St Luke’s, Karin Grech and Gozo hospitals, would be scrapped.

Earlier this month, the Shift News reported that the hidden owners of Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH), who were awarded a concession to run the three hospitals, funded the takeover of a medical equipment company.

VGH then signed an agreement with the company, entrusting it with the procurement of all its medical supplies.

Asked about the deal earlier this month, Fearne told journalists that the controversial deal would be scrapped.

“Both Steward Health Care and I don’t believe in a model of procurement that grants exclusivity to a single company,” Fearne said. “Steward is working to reverse the [Technoline] contract.”

Despite Fearne’s statement, a report in Illum on Sunday shows that on the same day that Fearne said he disagreed with the deal, his ministry awarded a €3.2 million contract for the provision of medical supplies for the Paola health centre to Technoline director Ivan Vassallo.

A source and competitor of Technoline’s who spoke to the newspaper claimed that big tenders were being tailor-made for Technoline.

In his replies to the newspaper, Fearne pointed out that the agreement between VGH and Technoline was one between two private companies, and one the government could do nothing about.

Moreover, he said that all contracts for the Paola Hub were awarded through a competitive process and that in the interest of good governance, he did not interfere in such processes.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Steward Health Care told Illum that there would be changes to existing agreements, without confirming that the deal would be scrapped.

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