Watch: No idea where missing VGH document might be, Muscat says

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has no idea where the missing document signed prior to the awarding the hospital privatisation deal might be.

Asked by whether he knew where this agreement could be, he replied, “I have no idea, definitely not.” He maintained that there is a lot to be said about the case.

Muscat told this newsroom that while there is a lot to be said on the case and that he respects the office of the Auditor General some issues were not sufficiently clarified. He added that he would like to see the authorities collaborating on the case.

On Monday, Prime Minister Robert Abela told reporters that he had instructed different entities to find the missing document after the news emerged. Abela said that he gave them a deadline by today.

The agreement in question was signed with a subset of the investors from VGH prior to the request of proposal before VGH was awarded the concession to operate three state hospitals. This agreement which was initially requested by the Auditor General was not provided when the audit into the deal was underway. Later Prime Minister Abela admitted that it was not found.

VGH had won the concession to run three state hospitals, St Luke’s, Karin Grech and the Gozo General Hospital, but the concession was later transferred to Steward Health Care.

Last week, the Auditor General published its report on the concession deal, said that immediate concern was the agreement that parties representing the government reportedly entered into an agreement prior to the request for proposals (RfP) with a subset of the investors of the VGH. The government was reluctant to give the NAO the said agreement.

The Auditor General raised his concerns about the concession deal. He found that the hospitals’ privatization deal was predetermined saying that documents provided “proof of collusion with government or its representatives”.

The NAO also stated that there were grounds for disqualification of VGH from the RfP.

Two years after taking over the three state hospitals – St Luke’s, Karin Grech and the Gozo General Hospital, Vitals sold off to the American giant Steward Healthcare.

The government and Steward Healthcare in talks about the 30-year concession, which the latter wants to have redrafted.

“It is costing the taxpayer €250,000 daily” – Delia

Leader of the Opposition Adrian Delia noted that Prime Minister Robert Abela had tasked a group composed of experts to evaluate the contract signed with the American health care giant. He remarked that since six months had passed since this committee had been set up, the government is now looking for the memorandum of understanding.

The Nationalist leader remarked that taxpayers were still footing a €250,000 bill on a daily basis.