Updated | Snus bribery case postponed to after elections

Prosecutors are seeking yet another delay to continue hearings in the compilation of evidence against Silvio Zammit, as Court is expected to rule on presentation of OLAF report.

Silvio Zammit on his arraignment, accompied by prosecuting officer, Inspector Angelo Gafa.
Silvio Zammit on his arraignment, accompied by prosecuting officer, Inspector Angelo Gafa.

Assistant Commissioner Michael Cassar and Inspector Angelo Gafà this afternoon filed an emergency application, calling on Magistrate  Anthony Vella to postpone a sitting due tomorrow, in the compilation of evidence against 48 year-old Silvio Zammit of Sliema who stands charged with soliciting a €60 million bribe from snus manufacturer 'Swedish Match' and of trading in influence.

Magistrate Vella upheld the request and deferred the case to 14 March.

Meanwhile, it has also been established that the OLAF report has been submitted by the Attorney General to the courts, however it has remained sealed in the Magistrate's chambers. A decision to break the seal will be given on 14 March.

In their application, the police requested the Courts to postpone the sitting due to their engagements in another important ongoing investigation.

The two officers are currently assisting Commissioner John Rizzo in investigations which are probing alleged kickbacks paid on oil procurements made by Enemalta Corporation.

But the request for postponing the sitting is the second in two weeks, and is set to face opposition by Zammit's defence lawyers, who have already expressed their concern at the way things were being handled.

Postponing the sitting tomorrow would mean that the much awaited OLAF report, which had led to the resignation last October of European Commissioner John Dalli, will yet again not be handed to the defence, who have been insisting on having it presented to Court.

While Magistrate Vella ruled that the Attorney General and the Police had to present the report during last week's sittings - which was postponed on request of the prosecution - the Court was faced with an application by the Attorney General and the Police, objecting to the presentation of the OLAF report.

They claimed that its publication would be prejudicial to the case, which was still being investigated.

But in a reply submitted over the weekend, lawyers Edward Gatt and Kris Busietta, argued that the persisted delay in presenting the OLAF investigation report was becoming "prejudicial" for their client, given that it was an intrinsic part of the proceedings against their client, as the evidence presented in the case so far showed.

Gatt and Busietta also challenged the claims made by the Police and the Attorney General that the report should not be published, because investigations involving former Commissioner Dalli were still ongoing.

The lawyers said that the Police have not arraigned Dalli because he was receiving medical treatment abroad, and the delay in his arraignment was seemingly the only reason why the prosecution want to also delay submitting the OLAF investigation report.



It was very clear from the beginning that the prosectution was resorting to delaying tactics in order for the OLAF report not to be published before the elections. Now we have confirmation. It is very sad that the prosecution is playing politics.
what a farce!
The acrid smell is winding all the way to Brussels via Valletta and Mdina.