140 questions for Barroso and Kessler

The parliament’s budgetary control committee prepares 140 questions for OLAF director Giovanni Kessler and Commission President Jose Barroso.

Giovanni Kessler
Giovanni Kessler

Members of the European Parliament are set to put further pressure on the EU's anti-fraud office, OLAF, over its handling of the John Dalli case. The former European Commissioner John Dalli resigned following an investigation on supposed attempt to influence new tobacco legislation.

The parliament's budgetary control committee has already sent the European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso a series of questions over Dalli's controversial resignation and a further 140 questions have been drafted and will be presented by the committee on 29 May.

The committee is set to discuss OLAF's the annual report and the much criticised OLAF Director General, Giovanni Kessler, is expected to be present.

The questions were largely drafted by the Greens with the co-operation of German centre-right member Ingeborg Grässle, and were put together in response to a leaked report by OLAF, which emerged at the end of April.

The wide-ranging questions relate to documentation gathered in the course of the investigation, as well as investigation procedures and details of interviews, and are addressed to both OLAF, and OLAF's supervisory board separately, as well as to the commission.

In its questions, the committee states that Dalli's resignation took place under the OLAF investigations "which, as a matter of fact, did not bring any formal proof of his guiltiness. Furthermore, doubts remain regarding potential investigation procedural infringements."

One of the questions drafted by the committee reads: "Why the European Commission has not waited for the OLAF's supervisory committee conclusions regarding the investigation procedure legacy as well as the Maltese Court decision, before forcing Commissioner J. Dalli to resign?"

"Why conclusions weren't sent firstly to the supervisory committee, and secondly to the Maltese Court, as the standard procedure usually requires?" the committee adds.

The committee also asked whether the European Commission should conduct an independent investigation in order to assess potential procedural infringements in the Dalli case.

"If procedural infringements are confirmed, what actions can the Commission undertake to resolve this situation? What actions should be taken by the Commission to prevent any new procedural infringements?"

One poignant question on the procedural nature of the investigation reads: "How can the same interviewers interview different people at the same time?"

OLAF's investigation of the Dalli case, and, in particular the role played in it by Kessler, has come under continued scrutiny since news of the affair broke last year. Both Kessler and Barroso have been subject to severe criticism and various MEPs have called for their resignation. 

Green MEPs Jose Bove and Bart Staes have accused European Commission president Jose Barroso of being politically "at fault" in having forced the resignation of John Dalli without verifying whether an OLAF investigation on bribery allegations forwarded by the tobacco industry, had been carried out using legal methods or not.

The two MEPs who visited Malta this month, said the leaked opinion of the OLAF supervisory committee had shown that OLAF's investigation on the allegations that prompted Dalli's resignation, was replete with shortcomings and irregularities.


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Issa ilna ix xhur bdin li storja ta Dalli flahbarijiet u hadd mid deputati ewropej Maltin ma jghaddi kumment dwar dan il kaz li ma jmurx jaqlahha mil partit jew il quddiem mil poplu. Ftakru li bniedem Maltin bhalna gie ikkundannat minghajr cans jiddefendi ruhu. Ara biex naqbzu ghal xi Chairman ta bord li irrezenja hemmhekk nitkelmu fl ewropa. Issa jekk Alla jrid meta Dalli jiehu ragun bil qorti bhal ma ghamel qabel fuq kaz iehor, imbaghad kullhadd jghidu prosit.
Emmanuel Mallia
The authorities should hire international correspondents, from , say, Euronews, BBC, CNN etc to give coverage to this and other issues, so Malta's name could be cleared.
I think,the European Commission has not waited for Olaf's,because without Dalli in office,the tobacco industry gained at least another 3 years making Millions.