Medical supplier Technoline was awarded more than €1.6 million in contracts for COVID-19 equipment despite featuring in a magisterial inquiry into the controversial Vitals Global Healthcare hospitals deal.

A list of contracts awarded to various companies during the first months of 2020, as part of the government’s efforts to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic, was published on Tuesday.

Among the contracts – awarded through direct order or negotiated procedure, a procedure that allows the government to consult the economic operators of its choice and negotiate the terms of a contract with one or more – were some 16 to Technoline. 

The contracts to Technoline total around €1.67 million and were for ventilators, antibody tests and other equipment needed to treat COVID-19 patients.

Technoline owner Ivan Vassallo has been among those being investigated by a magstrate for allegedly being part of a criminal conspiracy in the controversial VGH deal worth over €1 billion.

The company was given the exclusive right by VGH to handle procurement for the three hospitals, meaning other medical firms had to submit their bids for contracts to a rival. News reports had also revealed how VGH funded the €5 million takeover of Technoline, which saw Vassallo suddenly buy out its long time owners.

Questions sent to the Health Ministry on why Technoline was chosen remained unanswered. 

The publication of the list marks the first time the health-related costs were made public. 

Who else was chosen?

Technoline were not the only company to receive a raft of contracts despite its controversial background. 

A company owned by arms dealer James Fenech, Fieldsports Ltd, was awarded two contracts of €475,000 each.

Fenech and four of his employees were charged in court with breaching EU sanctions on Libya in April though he denies any wrongdoing. 

And Malta’s own ‘Tiger Kind’, zookeeper Anton Cutajar, who had illegally built a zoo that was later sanctioned by the Planning Authority, was also among those awarded contracts during the outbreak. 

His company, Princling Holdings Limited, was handed a € 2.03 million contract through negotiated procedure for the supply of 50 ventilators. 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us