The Nationalist Party yesterday again called for complete parliamentary scrutiny of the health minister’s claim that some of the concrete structures at Mater Dei’s Emergency Department were below standard.

PN health spokesman Claudio Grech said that while the Opposition would continue to insist that those responsible for any wrongdoing should be held accountable, he couldn’t understand the government’s reluctance to discuss the issue in Parliament.

“While the minister [Konrad Mizzi] made these claims and has also given interviews to the media, no one has ever seen the evidence backing his claims,” Mr Grech said.

“We still cannot understand the government’s reluctance to discuss this issue in Parliament so that all those involved will be asked the necessary questions and Parliament will be able to assess what really happened.”

Mr Grech said that while the government had already dismissed the Opposition’s request to put the issue on the agenda, he had now made another formal request and expected the government-appointed chairman (Labour MP Etienne Grech) to agree to a transparent and detailed discussion.

But last night in a statement, the Energy Ministry said the government would notinterfere with the ongoing inquiry into the case. The board of inquiry was assessing criminal and civil liabilities.

Detailed studies were also being carried out by a company that specialised in the matter.

Once these investigations were completed, it would be the right time for the issue to be scrutinised in Parliament, the ministry said.

Last August, Dr Mizzi had revealed the government was constrained to drop an EU-funded project to extend the hospital’s emergency department by two extra floors.

The decision was taken because the concrete structures of the emergency department were found to be weak and an alternative site had to be found.

This newspaper has asked the ministry for details of the structural tests it commissioned but has not received a reply.

Last week, the government announced that the new project, which will now consist of a six-storey building, will be constructed under two different tenders.

Two storeys will be built by the companies awarded the original tender – Gasan’s Mekkanika and Attard Brothers – while the government is going to issue a new tender for the other four storeys.

The project, which has not yet started, has to be fully commissioned by the end of next year. If not, Malta might lose the €9 million in EU funds for the project.

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