The government is analysing the court’s verdict that found collusion in the fraudulent hospitals deal, according to finance minister Clyde Caruana.

In turning down an appeal by Steward Healthcare, the courts found that the deal involved “collusion between the two parties”.

“The government is still in the process of looking into the judgment from a legal perspective”, Caruana said in comments to Times of Malta, adding that the judgment was only published earlier in the morning.

Clyde Caruana speaking on Monday. Video: Matthew Mirabelli

Caruana also remained tight-lipped on the verdict’s possible implications on a €100 million exit clause that is currently undergoing arbitration proceedings.

“I am not a judge, we need to let both local and international legal proceedings run their course and then take things from there”.

Budget ‘will be the envy of other countries’

Caruana was speaking shortly after addressing a meeting with top government officials on the implementation of the budget.

Next week’s budget “will be the envy of many other countries”, Caruana said. He argued that while the government is “not perfect”, it is doing more than many other countries with greater resources to safeguard the wellbeing of its citizens.

Caruana pointed to the €350 million in energy subsidies that the government is set to spend next year, saying that many are taking subsidies for granted.

“If we hadn’t done what we did in subsidising energy, everything else would have been superfluous and nobody would be talking about anything else”, he said.

“When energy prices were revised 14 years ago, the economy ground to a halt. Instead, we are now talking about what the government will be doing in different areas”, Caruana added.

Caruana had previously warned that while subsidies are to remain in place for the foreseeable future, they cannot last forever.

Some 81% of last year’s budgetary measures have been implemented according to principal permanent secretary Tony Sultana, who also addressed the meeting to present a new report on the budget implementation.

“These are measures that directly impacted people and their lives, such as investment in sports, in disciplinary forces, infrastructure and the elderly”, he said.

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