Oh look, an­other co­in­ci­dence

On 19 May, 2015, Konrad Mizzi, as Min­is­ter for En­ergy and Health, is­sued a press re­lease an­nounc­ing the pre­ferred bid­ders for the €200-mil­lion in­vest­ment in our health sys­tem. Among the com­pa­nies men­tioned, Vi­tals Global Health­care.

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Claudette But­tigieg is a PN MP – cbut­tigieg08@gmail.com, twit­ter: @ButClaudette

There are sev­eral odd things about this case. One is that, a few months ear­lier, this com­pany was called Vi­talis, not Vi­tals. Get this straight: The com­pany which ap­plied for the ten­der, and the com­pany that ac­tu­ally won the ten­der, have dif­fer­ent names. The sec­ond strange fact is that the three Vi­tals com­pa­nies in­volved in the ac­tual sign­ing of the con­tracts were set up over a very short stretch of time.

How short? A six-day pe­riod: 12-18 May, 2015.

In other words, it looks like Konrad Mizzi’s pre­ferred bid­ders were set up on the eve of his an­nounce­ment that they had been cho­sen. Quite lit­er­ally on the eve: The con­clu­sion of the set­ting up takes place on 18 May; our Konrad, bless him, an­nounces on 19 May.

Still be­lieve it is all a co­in­ci­dence? Then take a look at an­other co­in­ci­dence of dates: 30 Novem­ber, 2015 and 2 De­cem­ber, 2015.

On 30 Novem­ber, Mizzi signed, on be­half of the gov­ern­ment of Malta, the con­tracts with Vi­tals.

Two days later, Mizzi’s spe­cial per­sonal ac­coun­tant – Nexia BT rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Karl Cini – gave Mos­sack Fon­seca the go-ahead to process the set-up of a bank ac­count for Konrad Mizzi (and, let’s not for­get, an­other for Keith Schem­bri).

A bank ac­count, mind you, that re­quired Mizzi and Schem­bri to de­posit an ini­tial sum of €1 mil­lion, to be topped up by an an­nual mil­lion ev­ery year. We know from Mizzi’s fi­nan­cial dec­la­ra­tions to Par­lia­ment that he does not have that kind of money. To keep up with those de­posits, Mizzi would need to have the money come from else­where.

Could this be an­other co­in­ci­dence?

I clearly re­mem­ber the fa­mous press con­fer­ence when Prime Min­is­ter Mus­cat an­nounced the €200-mil­lion in­vest­ment. That evening I asked Min­is­ter Konrad Mizzi lots of ques­tions, which to date have re­mained unan­swered. Was this a done deal? The then health Min­is­ter had de­nied this. Was he be­ing hon­est or was he mis­lead­ing Par­lia­ment?

Yet an­other story is emerg­ing in con­nec­tion with Vi­tals. It con­cerns doc­u­ments not pub­lished by the cur­rent health min­is­ter Chris Fearne when he tabled the con­tracts in re­sponse to my per­sis­tent par­lia­men­tary ques­tion. The main doc­u­ment is a side let­ter pub­lished by blog­ger Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia on her web­site. This let­ter was signed, once again, by Konrad Mizzi. But, by the time he signed this, he was no longer min­is­ter for health.

The ob­vi­ous ques­tion is whether Fearne knew much about the con­tent of the doc­u­ments he tabled in par­lia­ment.

More­over, was he pre­vi­ously aware of the let­ter pub­lished by Caru­ana Gal­izia? If he was aware, why didn’t he pub­lish the doc­u­ment? Af­ter all, how could he not know?

This de­vel­op­ment could eas­ily be Chris Fearne’s Achilles heel. If he knew about the con­tent of the miss­ing doc­u­ment, did not pub­lish it, but in­stead tried to hide it, that is not merely wrong. It shows in­tent to mis­lead and mis­guide Par­lia­ment.

If he re­ally did not know about it, he comes out look­ing like Mizzi’s stooge.

We also now know that, in Mon­tene­gro, Vi­tals is try­ing to close a sim­i­lar deal to the one it signed with Malta. Even there, in Mon­tene­gro, they want to buy the health sys­tem for 30 years. Once again, this may ap­pear as a co­in­ci­dence to some. Frankly I don’t be­lieve it. I doubt you do, either.

The Malta In­de­pen­dent Fri­day 4 Novem­ber 2016

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