Watch: PM Abela gives until today for VGH missing agreement to be found

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The missing agreement in the hospitals’ privatisation deal needs to be found by Monday, after Prime Minister Robert Abela gave an ultimatum.

Fielding questions from the press following the inauguration of a new virtual museum at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Abela said that after he got to know that the document was not found, he directed the relevant entities to find the missing document 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.

Once again on Monday, Abela insisted on distinguishing between VGH and Steward Healthcare saying that the government is still in discussion with Steward Healthcare over the revision of the contract. He added that Steward Healthcare have provided a service which on could have been improved on some occasions. He maintained that one needs to acknowledge the ‘good’ work done in Gozo.

Abela hailed the work of the Auditor General and said that he was concerned about the conclusions drawn up in the report.