Vitals Global Healthcare contracts tabled in Parliament
● Many pages missing; several timeframes and amounts not present
Health Minister Chris Fearne tabled the Vitals Global Healthcare contracts in Parliament last night, however many pages were missing, with the Opposition claiming that there were some 60 pages or so absent from the published documents.
While there is a confidentiality clause in the Services Concession agreement, which also mentions commercially sensitive information, it shall not apply to any disclosure of information to any other relevant public bodies, including Parliament, “should the government consider it necessary to fulfil any legal or political obligations which it may have”.
In addition, a separate clause within the same document reads that the government “retains absolute discretion whether it discloses any information to the House of Representatives, the Auditor General, the Accountant General, the Parliamentary Ombudsman and any other public body, without any need of consulting or obtaining the consent of the concessionaire for this disclosure.”
While three contracts covering the agreement in relation to the operation of Karin Grech Rehabilitation Hospital, St Luke's Hospital and the Gozo General Hospital were published, many pages, as well as quite a bit of information relating to timeframes and payments were left out.
The three contracts published are a services concessions agreement, a Labour supply agreement and a health services delivery agreement.
As an example, within the services concession agreement, government blanked out the amount the Concessionaire must pay for “movables”.
“In consideration of the payment hereon the sum of (blank) by the Concessionaire to the Government of Malta (GOM), in respect of which sum GOM is hereby tendering due receipt to the Concessionaire, GOM hereby sells, transfers and delivers to the concessionaire as of the effective date (the date when a number of conditions by both sides are satisfied)... all the moveable objects pertaining to GOM which are present on the sites as at the commencement date”.
It also blanked the sum government would need to pay to buy back these movables upon the lapse of the concession period, or should there be early termination.
The document mentions some form of handover plan, for the smooth transition of the activities and operations conducted by the government at the Gozo General Hospital and Karen Grech Hospital.
The maximum period allotted for the full implementation of the handover plan has been blanked out, however it does say that the agreement on the plan must conclude by the effective date.
As per the agreement, the concessionaire is obliged to not do, or omit from doing anything that can decrease the value of the concession, or which may place the undertaking in a state of disrepute or in any other way damage the reputation of the healthcare industry in Malta, the sites, or the Government of Malta.
It is also bound to utilise an annual sum of the profits for environmental enhancement and embellishment or social projects. What is believed to be a percentage of the profits, however, is blanked out.
The pages blanked out in this document include Queen Mary University of London Malta’s undertakings, their list and specification of equipment to be procured and installed, termination payments and the parent company guarantee.