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MT 19 October 2014

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maltatoday, SUNDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2014 News 11 anti-fraud agency's handling of the investigation that led to Dalli's resig- nation showed strong critique of both OLAF and Giovanni Kessler. OLAF's supervisors accused the agency of violating its mandate and breaking EU laws. The committee laid out a damning verdict of the four-month investigation and called into question Kessler's impartiality. It accused Kessler's office of con- ducting unlawful interrogations in Malta, of intercepting a private tele- phone conversation, of involving the help of Maltese authorities without a proper legal basis and of overlooking or rushing checks on the legality of its actions in order to speed up the outcome. The 29-page report also accuses OLAF of instructing the key Dalli- gate witness – a Maltese-based lob- byist, Gayle Kimberley – to lie. "This committee was completely disregarded by Barroso. If he were a mediocre manager – not a good one – the least he would have done was to make sure that he was standing on solid ground. How do you achieve that? The best is to make sure that the supervisory committee cleared the report. Did he do that? No. And I can surmise why: he knew he had a mess on his hands and that the report was fraudulent. He knew that the supervisory committee would have never cleared it for him. "The committee in fact made mincemeat out of OLAF and Kes- sler," Dalli says. Presented in the European Court of Justice, where he instituted a case against the Commission, Dalli says the document shows that his human rights were breached. In December 2012, Dalli filed a case asking the ECJ to annul the decision taken by Barroso to sack him "as he had no legal base to do it the way he did". After various written presentations made to the court over the two years, the ECJ heard witnesses on the 7th and 8th July 2014. "One must note that it is exception- al for the ECJ to go into verbal pro- cedures. Barroso, for the first time in his tenure, was called to give evi- dence, and he read his evidence from a text that his legal counsel admitted they had prepared for him," Dalli adds. The case is still to be decided. Meanwhile, in Malta… When the OLAF report was hand- ed over to the local authorities, the Maltese police interrogated and later arraigned Silvio Zammit, accused of attempting to influence Dalli over the tobacco directive after soliciting a €60 million bribe from Swedish Match to lift an EU ban on the trade of snus smokeless tobacco, which is legal only in Sweden. Dalli was never arraigned by Maltese police: While former police commis- sioner John Rizzo had claimed that there were grounds to arraign Dalli, his successor, Peter Paul Zammit – appointed in March 2013 – first said that there was no case against Dalli and then, according to Kessler, said that the case was not closed. Zammit's assurances in the media that no case existed against Dalli led to the former minister being ap- pointed as a consultant on health af- fairs to Prime Minister Joseph Mus- cat in 2013. But testifying in court later on that s, John Rizzo – summonsed as a wit- ness in the compilation of evidence against Zammit – said that when the case first emerged he had the go- ahead from Attorney General Peter Grech to press charges against Dalli over the alleged bribery. However, the po- lice failed to press charges against Dal- li, with Rizzo claim- ing in court that the former commission- er had been holed up in Brussels during the ensuing months seeking medi- cal treatment, when Malta was in a prolonged, three-month electoral campaign. A new document, tabled in parlia- ment by Michael Cassar – one of four investigating officers and today head of the Malta Security Service – showed that the Attorney General, the deputy AG, Rizzo, deputy com- missioner Joe Cachia and inspector Angelo Gafà "considered that both Silvio Zammit and Hon. John Dalli will be separately charged in court with trading in influence and brib- ery". They also concluded that no charg- es would be pressed against Kimber- ley. Cassar, who did not sign the men- tioned report as he was abroad, disa- greed with the position taken by his colleagues and was of the opinion that Dalli and Zammit should be ar- raigned together. He argued that the evidence the police had against Dalli was only cir- cumstantial and would not have led to a conviction. His opinion, he said, was that there could have been prima facie evidence if they were arraigned together. According to Dalli's legal aids, the prosecution would have had a weak case if the two were arraigned togeth- er, unless the accused started "spill- ing the beans" about each other. "But we all have heard Silvio Zam- mit say he was offered a presidential pardon to try and convince him to testify falsely against me, something which he refused to do," Dalli says. He insists that the document hand- ed by Cassar in parliament – and sub- sequently published by the PN – was "proof that the police had no case". "This makes Simon Busuttil dou- bly guilty of defamation because as a lawyer he should know that there is no case as explained in this paper. This is just fabrication and nothing else," he says, reiterating that a deci- sion to arraign him was taken "due to mounting pressure by the GonziPN administration". That there's no love lost between Busuttil and Dalli has been made am- ply clear after the latter threatened to initiate defamation proceedings against the PN leader; Busuttil re- torted back calling him "the Prime Minister's consultant" – in reference to the consultancy work Dalli carried out at Mater Dei. Dalli claims that, since becoming leader of the PN, "Simon Busuttil brought the [attacks] in the open". He believes there is collusion be- tween "certain elements in the PN and people in Brussels". "They wanted me arraigned so that the people in Brussels could be jus- tified over their actions. My belief is that someone promised Barroso that he would have this comfort. The fact that they didn't deliver is frustrating them." He immediately shoots down sug- gestions that he might be exaggerat- ing: "It's what the papers controlled by this faction continue to intimate. But it's the truth. The exaggeration is in their actions. Every time they make this insistence is proof to me that they had a commitment that they are still trying to fulfil." With the case against Silvio Zammit ongoing and the two cases opened by Dalli still in court, the question is how will Dalli clear his name? "I will clear my name because I will prove that what OLAF did was a fraud. That is how I will clear my name. And I will prove it. Why is Kessler afraid to come to Malta? Because he is afraid to face ques- tions. Because he is afraid of what he did. He knows that what he did was completely wrong and he is afraid to face it. And this is how I am going to prove my innocence: by proving the guilt of other people." 'Kessler knows that what he did was completely wrong and he is afraid to face it. And this is how I am going to prove my innocence: by proving the guilt of other people' Opposition leader Simon Busuttil (right) claims Dalli was not charged by Rizzo's successor, Peter Paul Zammit, under Joseph Muscat's order. A breach of privilege complaint is still ongoing inside the House of Representatives

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