Steward Health Care has questioned the outcome of a judgment annulling the controversial deal that handed over the running of three state hospitals to a private consortium, calling the statements made against it as “outrageous and without merit”.

Ruling on a case started by former PN leader Adrian Delia, Judge Francesco Depasquale said on Friday that the deal shepherded under former prime minister Joseph Muscat’s administration was “corrupt and fraudulent” and that the Gozo General Hospital, St Luke's Hospital and Karin Grech Hospital should be returned to the state because promised targets were never met. 

The judge also said that fraud was established in three stages of the process.

But in a statement later on Friday, Steward Health Care, which currently holds the concession, said it “strongly objects” to the outcome of the judgment and questioned the state of rule of law in Malta.

The company said it is considering its position and reserved the right to safeguard its interests in both local and international courts. 

“SHCM will pursue action contesting all allegations of wrongdoing raised in the court judgement, allegations we consider outrageous and without merit,” it said. 

Steward said that preliminary reviews of the judgment showed it contained “significant flaws in reasoning”. 

“We believe that the judgment, which goes far beyond the court’s remit, presents major concerns for the rule of law in Malta and has serious implications for the future of foreign investment in the country."

“The legal, operational, and practical aspects of the consequences of the court’s judgement need to be assessed in detail and understood thoroughly. SHCM remains committed to operate at all times in accordance with its highest professional standards and values.”

The company said its priority remains in providing optimal healthcare to the communities and patients it is entrusted to serve.

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