Steward has so far “kept up” with repayments on a €36 million BOV loan that was enabled by a controversial €100 million government agreement in 2019, Justice Minister Jonathan Attard said on Friday.
Independent candidate Arnold Cassola recently questioned BOV's due diligence processes prior to granting the loan.
Addressing a PL press conference, Attard largely repeated the prime minister’s assurances that Steward Healthcare had delivered on a number of services during its running of the St Luke’s, Karin Grech and Gozo hospitals.
He said that while the government will recoup missed tax payments, it was misleading of the Opposition to say that Steward did nothing for the hospitals during their time in Malta.
The American healthcare giant announced on Thursday that it was leaving Malta, weeks after a court annulled its contracts with the government on fraud grounds.
Steward is appealing the decision.
Attard acknowledged that the government was not happy with the state of St Luke’s. He said the prime minister has already announced he will be asking the Auditor General to verify that the services provided by Steward tally with the payments it received.
The minister said Thursday’s fiery debate in parliament showed that only a Labour government could be trusted with leading the country.
He said last month’s court decision at no point implicated the government in fraud, contrary to the impression given by the Opposition.
Attard said the prime minister “had not conceded an inch” to Steward, and always safeguarded the national interest.
Labour MP Randolph Debattista deplored how an individual attending a PN-led protest outside parliament spat on a journalist.
He said it was “ironic” that those who attend a vigil for a dead journalist acted in such a way.
A vigil for slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was held after the PN’s protest on Thursday evening.