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Dalli accuses Busuttil of being ‘part of OLAF fraud’

Former European Commissioner in renewed criticism of Opposition leader’s statements in parliament

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
10 July 2014, 12:17pm
John Dalli
John Dalli
John Dalli has renewed his accusation against Opposition leader Simon Busuttil of being “part of the fraud” he claims was committed against him, after statements by Busuttil in parliament made Wednesday evening.

Busuttil asked home affairs minister Manuel Mallia in parliament whether the police were seeking to arrest outgoing European Commission president José Manuel Barroso should he come to Malta.

Dalli has suggested that Simon Busuttil was in Brussels on 8 July 2014, where he could have met José Manuel Barroso or Commission officials to discuss Kessler’s testimony to the privileges committee.

Busuttil is facing a breach of privilege complaint after stating in parliament that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had interfered in the police investigation into OLAF’s report of a €60 million bribe by Silvio Zammit to influence tobacco rules pushed by John Dalli. The OLAF report led to Dalli’s resignation from European Commissioner in October 2012.

The comments were a tie-in to claims by OLAF director Giovanni Kessler that he had learnt from a mutual source that Dalli had said Kessler would be arrested by Maltese police.

But Dalli today said that Busuttil was giving truth to “Kessler’s lie that I sent him a message not to come to Malta.”

“I sent him no such message. I have a witness to the conversations I had with the journalist, including the unsolicited confession by Kessler that he knows that he did something wrong when interviewing [Gayle] Kimberley and that he was talking to [former Maltese prime minister] Gonzi,” Dalli said in a statement.

Kessler has refused to testify in a privileges committee hearing in the Maltese parliament, claiming that a journalist to whom Dalli spoke, told him he faced arrest if he came in Malta.

“I was talking to a journalist and was expounding my conclusions based on the fact that Kessler was asked more than once to come to Malta to give evidence in the case against [Silvio] Zammit, and that he did not turn up,” Dalli said. “As reported in the papers Zammit’s defence lawyer seems to have reached the same conclusion.”

Dalli also referred to Simon Busuttil by his initials, albeit inverted.

“It seems that Dr BS thinks that he alone has the right to come to conclusions,” the former European commissioner said.

Dalli is still the subject of a second OLAF investigation, allegedly due to his undeclared trip to the Bahamas in August 2012, to organise a philanthropic project for a group of millionaires.

“This is nothing but a media campaign organised by the Commission and OLAF to slander and intimidate me.

“Dr BS is part of this campaign. Why did Dr GK [Giovanni Kessler] have to write to the Speaker when he knew that the session in front of the privileges committee was postponed?  And why did he have to bring in the second investigation if not to throw mud?  Dr BS should know… that Kessler’s action is in breach of the obligation of confidentiality that binds him and that Dr GK insists on. Dr BS is mum on this. He is also mum after the statement made by Mr Zammit that he was offered a presidential pardon if he lied about me,” Dalli said in a statement.

Dalli also said he would consider publishing the correspondence he has had with OLAF on the second investigation, and take further appropriate action.

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.