Government insists Mizzi alone politically responsible for Vitals deal

The government appears to consider the removal of disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi to be a sufficient remedy for the findings of a damning National Audit Office report looking into the Vitals hospitals concession.

The report found evidence of collusion between the government and Vitals before the company was granted a concession on St Luke’s Hospital, Karin Grech Hospital and the Gozo General Hospital.

In his reaction to the findings, Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia insisted that Finance Minister Edward Scicluna and former PM Joseph Muscat should shoulder political responsibility over what happened. Alternattiva Demokratika, meanwhile, insisted that Mizzi and Muscat should be investigated.

But in a brief statement to the press, the government has decided to stick up for Muscat by laying the blame squarely on Mizzi, who was kicked out of the Labour Party late last month and who is presently an independent MP, albeit one who has pledged continued loyalty to the government.

Mizzi offered a different interpretation, however, emphasising that the entire Cabinet was involved at all stages.

No indication termination of deal under consideration

There have also been a number of calls to terminate the concession, which has since been transferred to Steward Health Care, but the government’s statement suggests it will stick to the controversial agreement, only conceding the need to avoid a repeat of the situation.

“The government led by Prime Minister Robert Abela will be ensuring that in future competitive processes, the shortcomings brought up by the National Audit Office will not repeat themselves,” the statement read.

“This is in the spirit of the important reforms that are being carried out by this administration in the field of good governance.”