Appeals Court confirms annulment of hospital deal / Malta News Briefing – Monday 23 October 2023

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Updated 1105

Government, PN react to Steward court decision

In immediate reactions to the Court decision handed out this morning, Government said that it did not wait for the conclusion of the appeal to implement a controlled step-in and take back control of the three hospitals. The Nationalist Party said that following this decision Government should reclaim the €400 million it had spent for this deal to go through and called for a national protest on Sunday. In a social media update, Roberta Metsola, the President of the European Parliament and a Nationalist MEP, expressed her gratitude to Delia and conveyed her anticipation that former minister Konrad Mizzi, Joseph Muscat, and the former chief of staff Keith Schembri would be held accountable.

Malta to postpone implementation of minimum corporate tax – reports

Malta has communicated to the European Commission its decision to postpone the implementation of a 15% minimum corporate tax rate by six years, according to a report on Malta Today. EU member states had agreed to establish a minimum effective tax rate of 15% for companies with an annual group turnover of €750 million. These global rules, set by the international organization OECD, will become EU-wide in 2025, with the implementation process commencing next year. Nevertheless, member states have the choice to defer the introduction of the supplementary taxation rate for a period of six years. Finance Minister Clyde Caruana has not disclosed Malta’s intentions in response to the new rules. He informed journalists in September that the tax authorities were conducting simulations to assess how these rules might affect government revenue and the economy.

Updated 0930

Appeals court tears down Steward hospital concession – finds government officials complicit

The contract held by Steward Health Care to manage three state hospitals has been officially declared null and void by an appeals court, which not only rejected the company’s arguments but also found complicity of “high government officials” in the entire debacle. This ruling reaffirms a significant judgment earlier in the year that revoked the contracts due to their association with fraudulent activities. In a detailed 99-page decision, a civil court led by Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti partially granted Steward Health Care’s appeal concerning expenses but dismissed other claims made by the healthcare company. While the original court ruling had primarily attributed the “fraudulent” nature of the deal to Steward, the appeals court suggested that there was “collusion between Steward and high-ranking government officials or their agencies.” Their purpose, it noted, was “to draft contracts not aimed at providing quality medical services, but serving other interests.”

The court ordered government representatives named in the case, including former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, the Attorney General, and heads of INDIS and the Lands Authority, to collectively bear the court expenses along with Steward. (Times of Malta/ Maltatoday)

Morning Briefing

Fiscal prudence necessary in budget – PM

Prime Minister Robert Abela spoke about the necessity for financial prudence, particularly in light of global price escalations. Addressing a political event in Gozo, the PM also highlighted that the budget’s primary goals include maintaining “tranquility” and “stability” while promoting economic growth. Abela assured that fuel and energy subsidies will persist, considering them as the most effective means to address the cost of living. Additionally, Abela pointed out that the Nationalist Party opposed these subsidies and preferred a more liberal market approach. (Times of Malta)

PN’s economic vision not depending on low-cost labour

PN leader Bernard Grech said that the PN’s economic vision is not reliant on a workforce of low-cost labour. During an interview on NET Television, he stressed the need for a fresh economic model that generates high-quality employment opportunities for workers Grech further stated that instead of embracing the Nationalist Party’s suggestions to address the cost of living, the government has chosen to criticize businesses, which he considers the driving force of the economy. He explained that the Nationalist Party’s approach is centered on practical proposals aimed at improving people’s quality of life. (TVM)

Car dealership owners to face action over alleged tampering

Directors of two car dealerships are anticipated to face legal action for their alleged involvement in tampering with mileage readings on imported Japanese vehicles. According to a report in the Times of Malta on Sunday, the police Financial Crimes Investigations Department has submitted charges to the court registry, and three individuals are set to appear before a magistrate in the coming days. The accused individuals include Alexander Spiteri, the proprietor of Alexander Auto Sales, a business that was recently registered in May. Also, Roderick and Alison Vella, operators of Rokku Auto Dealer, are among those facing charges. These charges encompass fraud, money laundering, and related conspiracy charges. The prosecution is likely to seek a court order to freeze their assets. (Maltatoday)

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