From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
PPP by Stealth: Albania Could Be Losing €40 Million Annually to Healthcare PPPs

Leader of the Democratic Party Lulzim Basha has claimed that the Albanian public health system is losing between €35-40 million every year to “corrupt affairs with PPPs” (Public-Private Partnerships).

Speaking at the conference “Challenges and Visions in Health”, Basha said that Prime Minister Edi Rama’s claims about “free health” are a criminal lie.

“Today the health system in the country ranks last. By comparison, Bosnia’s out-of-pocket spending has reached twice as much as in this country. The reason behind this is open theft with corrupt affairs through PPPs. It is theft through contracts. There is no free health, it is a deceptive slogan…This is theft of corrupt affairs with PPPs,” he said.

Exit has previously revealed how the Albanian government, along with the government of Montenegro, and Macedonia have been in talks to enter into a Public-Private Partnership with Vitals Global Healthcare, and then Steward Health Care.

The plans have been drawn up, facilitated by clandestine meetings between senior government officials from the respective countries and investors Sri Ram Tumuluri and Shaukat Ali Ghafoor who are behind both companies. A complex web of memorandums of understanding and shell companies had previously shielded what was really going on, until Exit’s investigation in collaboration with The Shift News in Malta.

Vitals Global Healthcare won a PPP with the Maltese government, worth €7 billion to run three state hospitals, despite having no experience in healthcare or anything else. After taking as much as €150 million in tax payers money and not delivering on a single clause of the agreement, they claimed they were in financial difficulties and were sold to Steward Health Care for just €1. It was then discovered that Tumuluri and Shaukat were behind both companies and received commissions on the sale while still continuing to benefit from the sale.

The government ministers involved in brokering the deal are now subject to a criminal investigation in Malta and disgraced ex-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has continued begging for more taxpayers funds, despite the scandal.

While all of this was happening in Malta, Shaukat and Tumuluri were busy in the Western Balkans, touting Malta as a success story and making plans to replicate the scam to the detriment of taxpayers. 

Yesterday Rama spoke at the University of Medicine graduation ceremony in Tirana. During his speech, he claimed that doctors and nurses were not leaving the countries in droves and that there is a waiting list of some 1500 wanting to work in state hospitals.

Two students Enriko Peculaj and Emiljando Kita interrupted Rama during his speech and were detained and taken to Police Station No.1 in Tirana. One asked whether Rama was aware of the fact that the only ones graduating were the ones who could afford higher education fees. Rama responded by advising him to get medicated.

The Movement for the University said that in the last 12 months, 857 doctors have left Albania and 78% of those that remain, want to go.