A government minister lacked the courage to claim publicly in a Parliamentary sitting what he said during a break in a sitting in February that the PN had bribed the judge in the Vitals-Steward case, PN leader Bernard Grech claimed on Sunday.
Speaking during a political activity in San Ġwann on Sunday., Grech said Animal Rights Minister Anton Refalo had accused the PN of “buying out” the judge who annulled the Vitals'-Stewards hospital deal.
“He (Refalo) was not courageous enough to say what he said during the actual sitting,” Grech said.
Earlier this year, Justice Francesco Depasquale annulled a “fraudulent” privatisation deal for the running of three hospitals, Gozo General Hospital, St Luke's Hospital and Karin Grech.
"But we are not like this government, constantly thinking about how we can buy people," Grech said.
Grech said that despite the court confirming that the Vitals-Stewards deal was fraudulent, Police Commissioner, Angelo Gafà remained silent.
Earlier this week, Grech and PN MP Adrian Delia filed a judicial protest and gave the Police Commissioner, State Advocate and Attorney General one week to take action against those involved in the “fraudulent” hospital deal.
“We asked Gafà about investigations,” Grech said.
“He told us that he is not carrying any independent ones and that he would wait until the magistrate's was concluded to start.
Grech said the police had an obligation to investigate and should have done so years ago.
"But we have a police commissioner who hides behind the magistrate's inquiry," he said.
Cost of living
Grech also spoke on the rising cost of living saying the government abandoned the population as it has failed to tackle the increasing cost of living.
He said that while Maltese and Gozitans struggled to cope with the cost of living, there were a few who focused on making deals, such as with Vitals and Stewards, and those who continued to steal behind the people’s backs.
“The cost of living is hitting us all, we all wake up in the morning and see how to make ends meet,” Grech said.
Last week, Prime Minister Robert Abela said the 2024 Budget sought to “strongly attack” the rising cost of living through measures such as the raise in the minimum wage and increases in pensions and children’s allowance.
Yet, Grech said people continuously told the party how they were struggling to make ends meet. There was also a shortage of medication with people going to the hospital to collect their medicine, only to be told it was out of stock, leaving them no choice but to buy it themselves.
Grech also said that the government is not helping importers or exporters who are continuously facing an increase in costs.
He said that while Malta has numerous products that could be exported to the EU market due to its geological size and distance, it faced challenges in competing with other big export markets.
“We always end up investing more to export but the Nationalist Party wants to help exporters invest more so that you they export to big countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy.”
Grech once again recalled the party’s proposal to help importers and exporters through a national fund.
He called for the COLA increase to not be taxed and said that the government is the only one profiting from increases through taxation.
Grech reiterated the party’s proposal to provide tax incentives to employers.
"We are not the only ones asking for this, unions want it too."
Grech also referred to a study that shows that young single people on an average income are unable to afford 95% of properties on the market.
“We did not know about this today, we knew this three years ago, and we came up with solutions,” he said, referring to the party’s electoral proposal for those buying property.
One of the proposals included that people who have divorced or separated and are re-entering the market would be considered first-time buyers.
“What has the government done to address this issue? Nothing. The government even forgot to provide more housing to those who truly need it."
Grech said that in Parliament on Monday, during his reply to the Budget speech, he will present further proposals on how the country can improve.