‘Government never said I was wrong’: Delia maintains Steward deal was abusive, illegal

Xtra on TVM | The court case that Adrian Delia initiated to cancel the concession agreement has been postponed until next month

Adrian Delia during the programme Xtra
Adrian Delia during the programme Xtra

The Steward deal that privatised three public hospitals was, and still is, unlawful and abusive, according to Nationalist MP Adrian Delia.

“The government never said I was wrong,” stated the PN MP on TVM's Xtra, the night before an expected ruling in Delia’s court case initiated to rescind the deal.

However, the judgement before Mr. Justice Francesco Depasquale has been postponed until next month, in view of the complexity and nature of the case.

Delia had filed the case in his capacity as Opposition leader in 2018 to force the cancellation of the concession agreement and have the hospitals returned to the public. The basis of his argument was that Vitals Global Healthcare, who first won the concession, and the heirs of the concession Steward Healthcare, did not fulfil their contractual obligations.

"I simply felt an obligation to do so. At the end of the day I will not take anything out of it," Delia stated when asked why he initiated the court process.

Maltese government faces a €100 million penalty and a criminal investigation into alleged corruption surrounding the VGH deal if the court finds that the deal was fraudulent.

The MP stated that "everyone knows Vitals and Steward did not accomplish what they promised". He also added that Steward Health Care had previously claimed in court that the privatisation deal was a fraudulent and dishonest one.

Delia was referring to separate civil proceedings in which Steward Health Care contested the enforcement of a judgement handed down by a UK court.

The case, which was filed in London by Ambrish Gupta, a hidden investor in VGH, against Steward Health Care, concerns a $5 million claim for compensation for being cheated out of 43% of VGH. Steward Health Care had lost this case.

A separate court case concerns two Pakistani nationals who acted as brokers between government and Vitals on the hospitals deal. They are now suing Steward Healthcare for unpaid fees.

Xtra invited Deputy Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne to speak on the issue during Monday’s show, but he never confirmed his attendance.