Updated 1605 – Afternoon Portal Review
Newsbook reveals that Steward Health Care have appealed the judgment which cancelled their concession to manage three public hospitals, with the judge deeming the deal to have been “fraudulent” in nature,
The Times of Malta leads with the story of an ex-police officer who has gone on trial accused of raping a former colleague and sexually assaulting another in attacks that allegedly took place in Msida police station and a police car.
Maltatoday reports that Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech has insisted that patients and the the public were the sole victims of the fraudulent Steward hospitals deal in a direct jibe at former prime minister Joseph Muscat.
TVM says that a diver who ended up paralysed from the waist down when he was working as a diver has been awarded 534,000 euro in compensation for damages.
351 Air Malta workers get payout to quit
Finance minister Clyde Caruana confirmed that 351 Air Malta workers have received a payout after applying to the early retirement scheme or the voluntary redundancy scheme offered by the government. Replying to a PQ, the Minister refused to give details on the payment amount. According to the statistics provided by the minister, the airline workers who participated in the scheme comprised 204 who worked in office administration and management, 137 “industrials,” and 10 engineers. (Maltatoday)
Malta asks EC to act against people smugglers
Malta has asked the European Commission to act against people smugglers who send migrants from Bangladesh to Libya for onward passage to Europe, including an airline named ‘Cham Wings’ involved in the business, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri told Parliament. The Minister was replying to questions a day after more than 30 migrants drowned when their boat capsized in rough seas in the Libyan search and rescue zone, the minister insisted that the people traffickers must be stopped. The minister said Malta was continuing to insist that people traffickers must be countered and the sea must be more intensively patrolled. (Times of Malta)
EIA highlights huge impact of proposed Villa Rosa project
Two towers of 27 and one of 34 storeys that are planned to rise over St George’s Bay to host 789 serviced apartments, 247 hotel rooms and a total 16,000sq.m of office space would have a major impact on the environment and air quality, an environmental impact assessment report says. There will be a heavy impact both during the construction phase but also when the project, covering a total of 50,000 square metres, is completed, the EIA said. (The Malta Independent)
First-time buyers to be granted higher loan amount on 10% deposit scheme
The Housing Authority will extend the 10% deposit scheme by raising the limit on the property value from €175,000 to €225,000. Half of those eligible for this scheme, amounting to 1,200 persons, have already applied for another scheme that will grant young couples €1,000 a year for 10 years. Those who haven’t yet applied for the latter scheme have till the end of May to do so. (TVM)
Muscat defends Schembri, insists Cabinet knew about Steward
Former PM Joseph Muscat still has faith in his former chief of staff Keith Schembri “as a person”, he told a court on Monday. Muscat argued that he could “vouch for no one” but he “still had faith in Schembri as a person to date.” In the same sitting, Muscat insisted that Cabinet was aware of the side agreement with Steward Healthcare that obliged the government to pay the company €100 million if the contract was annulled. He reiterated that all that was discussed in Cabinet is minuted and ample reference to this was made in the Auditor General’s report. He was testifying in a libel case he filed against lawyer Christian Grima. (Times of Malta)
New licencing system for contractors to apply from June
A new regime leading to the eventual licencing of building contractors will kick off on June 1, according to a government plan presented for public consultation on Monday. Planning Minister Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi said the proposed licencing scheme will improve the quality of the construction sector and lead to better enforcement. According to the plan, applications for a license will open on 1 June and close on October 31. But the final cut-off date for all contractors to be licensed has been set at January 1, 2025. (Maltatoday)