The prime minister was facing calls to act on Sunday after it was revealed that a secret agreement with Steward Healthcare appeared to impose heavy burdens on the government if the hospitals concession was rescinded by a court.  

MaltaToday reported that former minister Konrad Mizzi in August 2019 signed an agreement which effectively gave Steward an escape clause that turned any termination of the concession, even if Steward was found to be in breach of contract, into a government default.

It said information was handed to an inquiring magistrate showing that Malta could face a hefty bill if the controversial deal was rescinded.

The wording was part of an agreement in which the government acknowledged that a €28m loan from Bank of Valletta to Steward was 'lender's debt'.

Shadow minister Jason Azzopardi said on Sunday that the agreement effectively meant that Steward would pocket €100 million of taxpayers' money should a court cancel the hospitals deal with the government.  

He asked whether the attorney general had approved this agreement. He also asked whether the police would interrogate former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Mizzi.

Steward Healthcare took over the management of Gozo General Hospital, Karin Grech and St Luke's Hospital from Vitals Global Healthcare which had been handed the concession by Mizzi in 2016.

Civil Society group Repubblika said Prime Minister Robert Abela had a duty to take steps regarding the 'corrupt deal,' saying Mizzi had landed the Maltese
people with a €100 million burden to carry around their necks.

The group asked what role Joseph Muscat has played in the contract signed by Mizzi.

"We insist upon knowing who is going to be held responsible for this affair.
Now we can no longer blame just Joseph Muscat and Konrad Mizzi . Now, Robert Abela is involved because he has to shoulder the responsibility that falls upon him as Prime Minister. Whoever takes no action with regard to corruption, is corrupt himself," it said.


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