The multi-million-tala Medcen hospital facility at Vailima remains underutilised.
The private hospital which the Development Bank of Samoa had been advertising for $2million over a long period of time has failed to attract bidders so far.
The Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, said while the hospital is no longer operating, the building is owned by the D.B.S. “They have not been able to offload the building to sell because it’s on government land,” Sili told the Sunday Samoan.
“They need to come to some discussion with the Land Board about the land. It makes sense for Development Bank to sell it (building) unless the government has any use of that land and building and get a decent return for the building.”
Sili added that the sooner “we let it (building) go to government cooperation the better because its sitting there and every year it sits there and not getting utilised it’s a year of further deterioration.”
The Minister could not confirm the current status of Medcen saying he has not been briefed about it.
D.B.S. has re-advertised the property for sale or as lease to own premises in the past year and months.
One of the advertisement in May this year stated, “the Medcen building, ideal for business development and located on government leased land at Vailima opposite the U.S. Embassy.”
Furthermore it said it was available for sale or lease to own over a period of 20 years ($2.1 million O.N.O)”
Before the launch of Medcen in 1998, a keen supporter of the project, the Pacific Islands Investment Facility (P.I.I.F.), promised the hospital would "upgrade standards, relieve pressures on the public system, incorporate special programmes to bring benefits to the wider community, save foreign exchange, and by providing improved health care, support increased tourism and foreign investment."
With the backing of 22 Samoa and American Samoa shareholders, MedCen opened its doors for business and was headed by Le Mamea Dr. Emosi Puni and Leo’o Dr John Adams.
But several years ago, the hospital ran into financial problems.
D.B.S. then moved in and took over the assets and equipment. The Bank was MedCen's biggest creditor, and had poured $2million into the project.