Weak concrete found at Mater Dei Hospital was laid in the first half of 1996 when the PN was still in government, the Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Chris Fearne told a press conference this morning.

Health and Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi, who spoke in the same press conference, said the controversial waiver agreement exonerating Skanska of all responsibilities was signed by Paul Camilleri, chairman of the Foundation for Medical Services, Joseph Fenech representing sub-contractor Blokrete and a representative of primary contractor Skanska.

Dr Mizzi said that all the former members of the Gonzi Cabinet who served from 2008 needed to explain why they had approved the waiver .

It was shocking, he said, that Opposition leader Simon Busuttil made light of this scandal when he spoke yesterday.

He did not refer to the €35 million needed to remedy weak concrete in the structure of Mater Dei Hospital. Indeed, this €35m bill could rise even further as more tests were carried out on other parts of the hospital, Dr Mizzi said. 

He said explanations should also be forthcoming from Tonio Fenech, who was chairman of the Mater Dei Steering Committee tasked with bringing the project to its completion. Mr Fenech’s comments would be more relevant because, when the weak concrete at the Casualty Department was detected, he had told Times of Malta that he was not surprised. (since the building was not meant to take additional storeys)

Answers, Dr Mizzi said, should also be given by former Health Minister Joe Cassar and from Brian St John, the former CEO of the Foundation for Medical Services.

Referring to a statement issued by Mr St John this morning, Dr Mizzi said Mr St John was transferred from the prime minister’s secretariat to the foundation before the waiver was signed. He too needed to explain why the waiver was given since it was the foundation which signed the contract.

The waiver stated that: "Except as explicitly stated in this Project Closure Agreement, the parties will not be liable whatsoever for all and any further, past, present or future concerns, claims or disputes that the parties may have in respect of the Amended Main Agreement and each Party waives with binding effect all its rights in relation to the Amended Main Agreement except in relation to those rights explicitly stated in this Project Closure Agreement."

Asked on John Dalli's involvement when he was minister of finance and then of health, Dr Mizzi said he would have to shoulder responsibility as anyone else.  

Asked which companies had laid the concrete, Dr Mizzi said the names would be known once the inquiry currently under way was completed. 

The Maltese people, he said, deserved an apology from all involved, including Mr St John, for the €35m needed to repair Mater Dei Hospital, Dr Mizzi said.

Asked whether concrete was laid between October 1996 and 1998, when Labour was in government, Dr Mizzi said no work was carried out at the time.

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