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Updated | EPP calls on European Commission to ‘force’ Kessler resignation

European People's Party Group in the European Parliament welcomes news that there is no case against former Commissioner John Dalli.

Staff Reporter
11 June 2013, 12:00am
Joseph Daul, Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament recently met former PN leader Lawrence Gonzi and his successor Simon Busuttil.
Joseph Daul, Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament recently met former PN leader Lawrence Gonzi and his successor Simon Busuttil.


Adds Alternattiva Demokratika's statement at 4:14pm

Joseph Daul, Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, and Inge Grässle MEP, EPP Group Coordinator in the European Parliament's Budgetary Control Committee, welcomed the Maltese Police Commissioner's statement that there was no case against John Dalli.

"The European Commission, guardian of European law, must draw the right conclusions and force the resignation of Giovanni Kessler, Director-General of OLAF, whose position has become politically and legally untenable," they said.

"We must strengthen the monitoring of OLAF and put in place an impartial and independent judiciary body which will ensure that procedures and fundamental rights are correctly followed and respected," they added.

The European People's Party joins the European Greens in calling for Kessler's resignation, however faslls short of calling for the resignation of the European Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso. Ironically, the EPP statement was issued on Kessler's birthday, who turned 57 today.

Last week, Police Commissioner Peter Paul Zammit declared that there is no criminal evidence to arraign or accuse former EU health commissioner John Dalli on grounds of corruption or trading in influence over the allegations that he was aware of a €60 million bribery attempt by one of his political canvassers.

Zammit on Saturday said that the police investigations in relation to the report by the EU's anti-fraud agency OLAF were ongoing, but as things stand there was no evidence to incriminate John Dalli. He added that he had already consulted with Peter Grech, the Attorney General, who agreed with his assessment.

Meanwhile, Alternattiva Demokratika congratulated the PPE for following the European Greens' and Alternattiva Demokratika's call for Giovanni Kessler's resignation.

AD spokesperson on EU and International Affairs, Arnold Cassola said:  "It is heartening to see that the foreign MEPs forming part of the PPE group are finally seeing the light on the Dalligate affair and following the Green Group in the EP and Alternattiva Demokratika's call for Kessler's resignation in the wholly mismanaged affair regarding John Dalli, which has smeared Malta's name the world over."

He added that it is "shameful" that for the past eight months not one of the nine Maltese MEPs rotating in the European Parliament, including Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna and Leader of the Opposition Simon Busuttil, "opened their mouth to defend Malta's honour and to support our call for clarity in the Dalli case."

"We are now happy that, despite the silence of the Maltese MEPs, the PPE has taken this step.  We now look forward for a concerted effort by all, including PPE and Socialists, to support the Green call for Barroso to answer in parliament for his irregular behavior," Cassola said.

Dalli, a former PN leadership contender and long-standing finance minister, served as EU health commissioner until he was forced to resign on 16 October 2012 by European Commission president José Barroso. Dalli has always insisted that he was a victim of a coup by the tobacco lobby and various political interests in Brussels and Malta conspiring against him.

In Europe, the press was generally sympathetic to John Dalli and surprised that former Maltese MEPs - including PN leader Simon Busuttil, Labour deputy prime minister Louis Grech and finance minister Edward Scicluna - never uttered a word of support for Dalli.

Only yesterday did the PN break its silence, by issuing a brief statement in which it said that the party had always respected Dalli's right to defend himself in serenity.

MaltaToday was at the forefront in investigating the complexity of the accusations, in the process uncovering the double-dealing of Rita Schembri, a member of the OLAF supervisory committee in Malta who has since resigned from her post as head of the OPM's Internal Audit and Investigations Department.

MaltaToday had published the OLAF report exclusively, revealing that director Giovanni Kessler had specifically suggested that there was no direct evidence connecting John Dalli to a bribe request linked to relaxing tobacco laws, or evidence that Dalli knew of a bribe to influence changes to the tobacco cirective.

Kessler however claimed that there had been "unambiguous circumstantial evidence" in the form of phone calls, repeatedly made between Silvio Zammit and Dalli at crucial times and in between Zammit's conversations with smokeless tobacco lobby ESTOC, and after Zammit's interrogation by Kessler himself.

Kessler effectively condemned Dalli in a press conference held a day after Dalli had stepped down, where he suggested that a number of unambiguous and converging circumstantial items of evidence gathered in the course of the investigation, showed that Dalli was actually aware of both the machinations of Silvio Zammit, then a PN deputy mayor in Sliema, and that his name was being used to gain a financial advantage.
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Dal Vangelo secondo Matteo: Allora Gesù gli disse: «Rimetti la tua spada al suo posto, perché tutti quelli che prendono la spada, di spada moriranno.
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Dal Libro di Samuele 45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
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Rachel Roberts
Why NOW and not before ? What kept him????? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Joseph Daul, Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, and Inge Grässle MEP, EPP Group Coordinator in the European Parliament's Budgetary Control Committee, welcomed the Maltese Police Commissioner's statement that there was no case against John Dalli.
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Joseph Borg
Unless the whole case is covered by the international media, nothing will be done ! Has the so called EUROnews, gave any coverage ? Euronews give prominence to events happening only in countries who are stakeholders in the so called EUROnews !!!
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I FULLY AGREE THAT KESSLER AND BARROSO MUST GO. NOW. THEY ARE A MAJOR LIABILITY TO THE EU AND THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.
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Michael Lanfranco
Baroso should also be forced to resign ans after all he was the one who forced Dalli to resing in 30 minutes. I also see it strange that Simon busutill and the PN never raised a finger to defend John Dalli, a pillar of PN in the hard days