Top officials in the public service say that government’s decision to pay Dr Frank Portelli €20 million to rent and eventually acquire St Philip’s Hospital goes against Legal Notice 296/10 that stipulates that such an agreement should be preceded by a public call for tender.
On 15 October 2012 government and former PN MP Frank Portelli are set to sign an agreement costing €20 million, €15 million of which is to pay rent for 15 years and another €5 million to buy St Philip’s Hospital after 15 years.
Government did not follow the obligations laid out in Legal Notice 296/10. Sources in the civil service have told maltastar.com that government advised Dr Portelli to issue a notice in the local news papers to enable the government to submit an expression of interest to acquire the use of St Philip’s Hospital. Negotiations between Portelli and government started after this expression of interest was submitted.
The same sources say that government should have issued a public call for tender to buy or hire medical facilities so that different bidders could have offered government different alternatives from which to choose.
Civil servants have told maltastar.com that the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Contracts should have ensured that Legal Notice 296/10 was being followed even in this case.
The National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee are also obliged to ensure that Legal Notice 296/10 on public procurement is observed.