Prime Minister does not exclude a change to the post of Attorney General

Prime Minister Robert Abela has stated that in light of the split in the Opposition, the Government has a greater responsibility to maintain stability in the country. Referring to the Auditor General’s report on the VGH contract for running the hospitals, Dr Abela said he was not satisfied with the auditor’s findings, and stated that this Government would be learning from mistakes.

Stating he was not satisfied with the Auditor General’s findings in the report on the contract with Vitals Global Healthcare, the Prime Minister said the report confirms the institutions are working.  “In regard to what has been done badly, we will remain consistent and will not evade the issue. As Prime Minister I not satisfied with the conclusions drawn by the Auditor General. Had I been Prime Minister, I would have acted differently. This is a Government which learns from mistakes and will not repeat the same mistakes, as otherwise it will not be considered a credible Government.”

Referring to a document which it is being said had not been given to the Auditor General, Dr Abela said he would see this document is handed over.

Asked by Television Malta for an update on the work of the committee appointed in February to look into the contract for the three hospitals as well as the various calls by the Opposition and civil society for the Government to stop the agreement, Dr Abela said a distinction has to be made between Vitals and Steward Healthcare, as at no stage did the Auditor General’s report look into Steward Healthcare, which took control of the hospitals from Vitals. “The committee carried out its scrutiny, we did a stocktake of the available facts. It is a known fact that talks are ongoing with Steward Healthcare to study the way forward. We are not excluding anything, no form of agreement. There are three choices – cancelling the existing agreement, and going for a different agreement.”

On the involvement of former Minister Mizzi in the agreement, the Prime Minister said Dr Mizzi no longer forms part of the Labour Parliamentary Group. In regard to the Permanent Secretary at the Health Ministry at the time who had been involved in the agreement, the Prime Minister said internal investigations were ongoing.

Questioned about the position of the Attorney General, Dr Abela did not exclude a revision in the future of the post of the Attorney General. However, he added that this was not because of what had been stated in Court, where it was alleged that the Attorney General advised the Police to thread slowly on investigations into the Panama Papers. The Prime Minister said it was not fair for the Attorney General’s advice to be taken out of its original context. Dr Abela added that this advice had been given to the Police authorities in light of elevation of data they were about to carry out from private servers, where such procedures are sensitive.