Government refers to the discussion that has been raised during this week within the House Business Committee on the issue of the rental of St.Philipss Hospital.
Government announces it’s intention that, immediately following the signing of the lease agreement of the St Philip’s Hospital, it will submit the contract to the Auditor-General for a full review and evaluation of the process. The report that will be drawn up by the Auditor-General will then be presented to the Public Accounts Committee for full parliamentary scrutiny.
Government once again clarifies that the rent or acquisition of property by Government is not subject to Parliamentary Approval both in terms of the Public Procurement Regulations and the Land Disposal Act.
In terms of the Public Procurement Regulations, the purchase or rent of land or property is specifically exempt (under Regulation 17 (1) (f) Legal Notice 296/10), from the need to issue a tender and thus allowing Government to enter into direct negotiations if this is deemed appropriate. Moreover, the Land Disposal Act requires Government to go to Parliament for approval only if the property being sold (and not bought as in this case) has not followed a public tendering procedure.
Government has decided to proceed with the signing of the contract, in view of the acute need of beds – which will relieve important bed availability at Mater Dei Hospital and the fact that at this stage the Government is not purchasing but renting the property, with the purchasing option only exercisable as from the third year. If Government decides to exercise the purchase option in the future, then prior to the signature of the deed of purchase, it will report to the Public Accounts Committee the reasons for the decision to purchase at that point in time and signature will only take place once the PAC review is completed.
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