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Malta’s reputation smeared, Barroso must explain – Cassola on Dalli dismissal

Alternattiva Demokratika says EC president should attend parliamentary hearing on Dalligate

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
15 May 2013, 12:00am
AD spokesperson for EU affairs Arnold Cassola says Barroso must explain decision to dismiss John Dalli
AD spokesperson for EU affairs Arnold Cassola says Barroso must explain decision to dismiss John Dalli


Malta's Greens said that European Commission president José Manual Barroso must present himself to an audition of the European Parliament's budgetary control committee, to explain the dismissal of John Dalli.

The Maltese commissioner was asked to resign by Barroso on 16 October on the strength of a covering letter to a report - undisclosed until MaltaToday leaked it six months later - of an investigation by anti-fraud agency OLAF alleging that Dalli was aware of a bribery attempt.

The EP's budgetary control committee will be holding an audition with the OLAF supervisory committee - the watchdog which said that OLAF's investigation was replete with irregularities - and Commissioner Algirdes Semeta and OLAF chief Giovanni Kessler on 29 May.

"This is a step in the right direction but it is not enough. In the name of transparency, even Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso should present himself for the audition to explain his behaviour in the whole affair," Prof. Arnold Cassola, Alternattiva Demokratika spokesperson for EU and international affairs, said.

"Malta's name and reputation have been smeared because of Dalligate. In this context, it is amazing how the six Maltese MEPs, both Nationalist and Labour, have remained silent over the past seven months, with only the Green MEPs and some EPP MEPS putting pressure to get to know the real truth," Cassola said.

A report by the OLAF supervisory committee has shown that the OLAF investigation into John Dalli could have breached fundamental rights, and even adopted irregular methods for OLAF chief Giovanni Kessler to travel to Malta and interview Silvio Zammit.

Zammit is being accused in the Maltese courts of asking Swedish snus manufacturers Swedish Match for €60 million to lift an EU ban on the sale of snus outside the country. Dalli was believed to have been aware of the attempt, and accused of omitting to report it. While no direct evidence of his involvement in the bribery attempt was found, Dalli was asked to resign by EC president Jose Barroso.

Dalli has since challenged the decision in the European Court of Justice and sued Swedish Match for defamation.
matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.
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George Muscat
We should do like the British - hold another referendum whether or not to continue being part of this ELITE and UNDEMOCRATIC Club.