The Nationalist Party will step up its efforts to push people in government to assume political responsibility for the hospitals deal after Monday’s court sentence found the government had “colluded” with Vitals to defraud the people, leader Bernard Grech said.

Grech and PN MP Adrian Delia gave a media statement when they exited court, shortly after an appeals court confirmed a landmark judgment to cancel contracts related to the hospitals' deal.

The court also concluded "high government officials" were complicit in the debacle. It also ruled that government representatives named in the case - including former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, the Attorney General and heads of INDIS and the Lands Authority - must jointly pay for court expenses, along with Steward.  

Video: Karl Andrew Micallef

Grech said the appeals sentence paves the way for the PN to push even harder for people in government to take political responsibility.

“The government only began to defend the people’s interest at the stage of the appeal. If it weren’t for this court case, people would still be robbed till this day, he said.

Delia said the court not only confirmed the original sentence but added the government colluded with Vitals to defraud taxpayers.

Until now the government has been arguing it was not complicit in the fraud, he said, but that argument does not hold water anymore. 

“The appeals court has concluded that is not true - that the government was fraudulent as well,” he said.

“What is going to happen now? I don’t know of any democratic country in which a sentence like this does not trigger the highest echelons of government to take political responsibility.”

He urged people to join the party in protest in Valletta on Sunday against the country’s “biggest fraud”. 

Grech said people have the right to demand their money back and only the government can get them back by opening a new court case to recoup the funds. 

“We promised the government our support in that case but they have refused it,” he said.

“The government has no problem taking to court people who stole €2,000 or €3,000, as it should. But Robert Abela does not have the courage to take to court those who took €400 million from the people.”

In a social media post, European Parliament president and Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola thanked Delia and said she expected former minister Konrad Mizzi, Joseph Muscat and the former chief of staff Keith Schembri to be held responsible. 

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