Updated | Rizzo did not take action on John Dalli’s European Arrest Warrant

Inspector Angelo Gafà says he proposed European Arrest Warrant but then Police Commissioner John Rizzo failed to take action

miriam
Miriam Dalli
14 January 2015, 3:24pm
Clockwise from left: John Dalli, John Rizzo, Silvio Zammit, Peter Grech (Attorney General) and Gayle Kimberley.
Clockwise from left: John Dalli, John Rizzo, Silvio Zammit, Peter Grech (Attorney General) and Gayle Kimberley.
One of the chief investigators into the John Dalli case had proposed the issuance of a European Arrest Warrant against Dalli but former Police Commissioner John Rizzo failed to take action.

According to Gafà, today serving in the Malta Security Service, he had presented a case as to why a European Arrest Warrant should be issued but Rizzo, on 1 April, asked the investigating team “to come back with the file in 15 days”.

On 12 April 2013 the government announced that Peter Paul Zammit was being appointed Police Commissioner, replacing Rizzo.

Gafà was asked to testify in the Privileges Committee over a breach of privilege complaint raised by the Prime Minister against the Leader of the Opposition.

Gafà confirmed that both the police and the Attorney General had agreed to separately charge Silvio Zammit and John Dalli on bribery and trading in influence.

The investigation, originally carried out by EU anti-fraud agency OLAF, had been carried out afresh by former Commissioner John Rizzo, assistant commissioner Joe Cachia, Michael Cassar and Gafà.

“I had drafted the charges against both Zammit and Dalli. Zammit was arraigned but Dalli was presenting medical certificates showing he could not travel and could not be subject to duress,” Gafà said, explaining that he had personally sought to present Dalli with an arrest warrant.

He however decided to issue a European Arrest Warrant after news emerged that Dalli had testified for three hours in a Belgian court.

“The last medical certificate presented by Dalli had expired and it appeared that his justification as to why he could not be interviewed by the Maltese police no longer held. I felt that we should issue a European Arrest Warrant but Rizzo said to bring up the file again within 15 days,” Gafà said.

Gafà said he prepared the case for an EAW on 20 March, but it took some 10 days for the report to reach Rizzo and a further eight days for the reply to reach Gafà.

Subsequently, the Police Commissioner was changed and Gafà filed a fresh application for a new warrant.

But when John Dalli was spoken to by Peter Paul Zammit and Gafà, he was not interrogated and no arrest warrants were issued.

“Peter Paul Zammit did not caution Dalli at the start of the meeting. I felt this was not an interrogation but an interview as, without a caution, it would not have been admissible in court. The meeting was not recorded and lasted for an hour.

“Even though we had carried our own investigation and we had our own questions, Zammit’s line of questioning was more generic asking Dalli to explain what had happened  and he gave us his version of events.”

Gafà added that after the meeting with Dalli, he had told Zammit that the interview could not be treated as an interrogation. Gafà said that Zammit did not want to take the same position as and a compromise had been reached.

“Our investigation saw Silvio Zammit as an accomplice in bribery. Our thesis was that Dalli, allegedly, asked Zammit to make the contact. So our final agreement was to see the court case against Zammit to be decided and, according to the conclusions, we would proceed against Dalli.”

Gafà said this agreement had been reached on 22 May 2013, on Peter Paul Zammit’s direction.

But in June, Peter Paul Zammit would speak on a televised programme and announce that the case against Dalli was closed. According to Gafà, this had been news to him.

Gafà also explained how the investigative team had started the investigation from scratch and had also travelled to Brussels where they interviewed, Inge Delfosse, secretary general at the European Smokeless Tobacco Council (ESTOC).

Describing her as “crucial to the investigation”, Gafà said Inge Delfosse had recorded a telephone conversation between herself and Zammit. However, it is not clear whether the recording took place on OLAF’s suggestion or out of her own initiative.

As stated by previous witnesses who appeared infront of the committee in previous sittings, Gafà said two meetings were held in Rizzo’s office during which the Attorney General, the deputy attorney general, Joe Cachia, Michael Cassar and himself were present.

In the second meeting, Cassar was abroad. During this meeting, the group agreed that there was enough circumstantial evidence to arraign Dalli. It was agreed that Zammit and Dalli would be charged separately.

The decision was based on a number of conclusions reached: all known informal meetings Dalli held; Dalli’s repeated denial that he was aware of the OLAF investigation when “he was actually made aware by Zammit on 6 July 2012”; Dalli’s encounters and phone calls with Zammit; replies given to questions and other circumstantial evidence unearthed.

The evidence at hand however did not provide enough material to arraign Gayle Kimberley, a lawyer identified by OLAF as having been party to bribery attempt of Swedish tobacco company Swedish Match.

According to Gafà, evidence emerged that Iosif Galea, who had accompanied Kimberley to Portugal when she was approached by OLAF and questioned, had immediately informed Zammit of the interview. “This conversation between Galea and Zammit took place against Kimberley’s request who told Galea he shouldn’t speak about it with anyone,” Gafà said.

According to Gafà, there were 10 telephone calls between Galea and Zammit in three days while the duo was in Portugal. Upon their arrival to Malta on 17 July, Galea met Zammit and passed on the details in persona. Zammit then called Kimberley claiming that Dalli had told him they were being investigated. Gafà said Zammit also called Dalli on the same day, minutes before he called Kimberley. The brief telephone conversation was treated as circumstantial evidence: “The last registered phone call between Zammit and Dalli had been on 13 April 2012.”

The inspector said that during Zammit’s arrest, his wife had filed a police report saying that her husband’s car had been broken into and documents stolen. In a second police report after his release, Silvio Zammit said documents stolen were related to the case. However, the Attorney General said the reported incidents did not influence the investigation’s conclusions.

miriam
Miriam Dalli joined MaltaToday.com.mt in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...