Updated at 4.15pm with government reaction

Updated 3.45pm with Labour reaction

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia filed a court application on Monday calling for the hospitals contracts signed between the government and Vitals Global Healthcare to be rescinded.

The scandalous agreement had been designed to fail, Dr Delia claimed, as he questioned the identity of the true beneficiaries of VGH.

In the application, filed against Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, the Attorney General, Malta Industrial Parks and VGH, Dr Delia calls for the Karin Grech, St Luke’s and Gozo hospitals to be given back to the public.

Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaPhoto: Mark Zammit Cordina

Dr Delia argued that VGH had breached various contractual obligations, including the building of a new medical campus and renovation of the hospitals.

Speaking outside the law courts, Dr Delia said the PN had not even received a reply to a judicial protest about VGH it had filed two weeks ago.

The concession was given to VGH in 2016, after then health minister Konrad Mizzi signed off on the contracts at a time when his financial advisers were looking for a bank account for his now-dissolved Panama company.

VGH received more than €50 million during the 18-month period it ran the Gozo, Karin Grech and St Luke’s hospitals.

It has yet to file any accounts, but the The Sunday Times of Malta revealed that the BVI-registered company racked up debts of over €55 million.

Read: Vitals in a desperate financial situation

Speaking on Sunday, Dr Delia insisted that the Opposition has repeatedly asked for details about the deal between the government and Vitals Global Healthcare for the running of three State hospitals and yet has not been given any answers.

The government gave its legal consent to the sale of the VGH hospitals concession more than a week after the agreement was signed, The Sunday Times of Malta had revealed.

The concession to run three State hospitals in Malta was sold to Steward Healthcare and sealed on December 20. 

The sale, just 21 months after Vitals signed the controversial agreement through which taxpayers would pay €2.1 billion for medical services, raised questions, especially following comments by Health Minister Chris Fearne that the new operator was “the real thing”.

Steward Healthcare was set up in 2010. It is owned by the private investment firm Cerberus Capital. In 2016, Steward Healthcare closed down and sold off an unprofitable public hospital to a real estate firm.

The Labour Party accused later on Monday Dr Delia of following in the footsteps of his predecessor, saying his actions were disrupting investment – which was hardly auspicious for someone who hoped to one day run the country. It added that these tactics had failed the Nationalist Party in the past.

The government also took a stand against Dr Delia's action, saying that it would deny patients world-class infrastructure at the three hospitals.

"The Opposition is once again offering no alternative," it said, saying that the Opposition under Dr Delia was showing the same negativity as it had under his predecessor.

St Luke's Hospital.St Luke's Hospital.

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