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OLAF refusal to testify delaying Silvio Zammit compilation - defence

Sivlio Zammit’s lawyers insists court’s insistence to hear OLAF officials is resulting in unnecessary delays; ESTOC lawyer testifies in compiliation against bribery suspect Silvio Zammit

danielmizzi
Daniel Mizzi
10 July 2014, 4:23pm
Silvio Zammit is accused of allegedly requesting €60 million to arrange a meeting between a Swedish Match lobbyist and former European Commissioner John Dalli
Silvio Zammit is accused of allegedly requesting €60 million to arrange a meeting between a Swedish Match lobbyist and former European Commissioner John Dalli
The defence lawyer of Silvio Zammit has hit out at the prosecution, saying their insistence in summoning OLAF representatives to the witness stand was resulting in unnecessary delays.

Zammit is accused of requesting €60 million to arrange a meeting between a Swedish Match lobbyist and former European Commissioner John Dalli to influence tobacco legislation, and of trading in influence and money laundering. 

Despite an OLAF report revealing that both Silvio Zammit and Gayle Kimberley – the lobbyist whom Swedish Match paid €5,000 to secure access to John Dalli – could have been accomplices in the alleged offence of bribery or trading in influence that brought down the former EU commissioner, only Silvio Zammit has so far been charged.

OLAF officials, including its chief Giovanni Kessler, have repeatedly refused to testify, much to the disdain of defence lawyer Edward Gatt.

Gatt insisted that former Police Commissioner John Rizzo, Assistant Commissioner Michael Cassar, and Inspector Angelo Gafà had said that their investigation into Silvio Zammit was distinct from that carried out by OLAF against John Dalli.

“Despite the investigators making it clear that the OLAF report is a separate investigation, the prosecution have insisted on summoning OLAF officials. I cannot understand this, especially because the same investigators said that the OLAF report was not related to their case.”

“Given their apparent reluctance to testify, the court is still requesting OLAF officials to testify. This is resulting in unnecessary delays to a case which has been going on for nearly two years,” Zammit’s defence said. 

Consequently, Edward Gatt called on the Attorney General not to waste more time and to quicken proceedings.

On his part, lawyer Kenneth Grima, on behalf of the European Smokeless Tobacco Council (ESTOC), told the court that he had told Swedish Match representatives that they were not required to travel to Malta in order to testify. “Instead of coming to Malta, I told Swedish Match officials that they can testify via video conference,” he said. The request was upheld by Magistrate Anthony Vella.

Despite being asked for legal advice by Swedish Match, Grima insisted that he is not their lawyer but was merely asked for legal advice. Requests to disclose the legal advice were however turned down by the Magistrate Vella, who insisted that Grima is bound by his professional secrecy.

Inspector Jonathan Ferris prosecuted, while Lawyer Edward Gatt is representing Silvio Zammit.

danielmizzi
Daniel Mizzi reports from the law courts.