Malta’s Deputy Prime Minister Resigns Amidst EU Commission Nomination Withdrawal Following Hospital Corruption Charges

Deputy prime minister Chris Fearne resigns over healthcare corruption case
Spread financial intelligence

In a spectacular political shakeup in Malta, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne resigned and requested the withdrawal of his nomination to the EU Commission after being implicated in the latest corruption scandal involving the privatization of Maltese Vitals hospitals. This adds another layer to the ongoing investigation into a corruption case that has already ensnared several high-profile figures, including former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Chris Fearne, who served as Health Minister until January of this year, was charged with misappropriation and fraud relating to a deal made with Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) during his tenure. The charges surfaced from a magisterial inquiry that linked him to the controversial privatization of three state hospitals—a deal that has previously been scrutinized in our extensive coverage of Malta’s healthcare corruption saga.

Fearne expressed confidence in his innocence in a heartfelt resignation letter to Prime Minister Robert Abela despite not having full access to the inquiry details. Abela publicly responded with reluctance to accept Fearne’s resignation, lauding his capabilities and integrity. However, opposition figures, such as leader Bernard Grech criticized the Prime Minister’s support for a charged official, arguing that it undermines Maltese institutions.

The VGH corruption scandal traces back to a 2015 agreement signed under former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s administration, allowing VGH to manage three governmental hospitals. The agreement was later deemed fraudulent and annulled by the courts in 2023. The deal implicated other key political figures, and has been central to ongoing legal and political turmoil in Malta.

In response to the unfolding events, MEP David Casa applauded Fearne’s decision to resign, advocating for similar actions from other implicated officials, including Malta’s Central Bank Governor Edward Scicluna, highlighting a broader call for accountability within the country’s political and financial leadership.

This case remains a critical focus for Malta and the EU at large, illustrating the deep-seated issues of governance and public trust within member states, and serves as a pivotal study in our ongoing analysis of corruption within state-contracted healthcare operations.

Share Information

If you have any information about this or other incidents in Malta, please let us know via our whistleblowing system, Whistle42.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *