The Malta Independent 29 September 2021, Wednesday

Former police chief wanted to arraign John Dalli on trading in influence charges

Malta Independent Thursday, 31 July 2014, 12:35 Last update: about 8 years ago

Former Police Commissioner John Rizzo today said that no politician interfered in the investigation regarding John Dalli, as he testified in the privileges committee this morning. But he said that he had wanted to arraign Mr Dalli on trading in influence charges  but thic could not be done because Mr Dalli did not set foot in Malta, declaring that he was unwell and staying in Brussels.

The committee is hearing a breach of privilege raised by the Prime Minister after Opposition leader Simon Busuttil claimed in parliament that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat interfered in a police investigation on former EU Commissioner John Dalli.

Mr Rizzo said that no member forming part of the Nationalist administration asked Mr Rizzo not to press charges against Mr Dalli.  Asked whether any politicians asked him to press charges just before the general election, Mr Rizzo denied.

“No one ever interfered in the investigation” he said repeatedly.

Mr Rizzo said that there was continuous parliamentary pressure regarding the investigation with former MP Franco Debono, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and George Vella repeatedly debating the the development of the investigation during parliamentary sessions.

“Members of Parliament and members of the media were trying to rush the investigation – and inevitably, this created pressure on us carrying out the investigation.”

Mr Rizzo said that after he stepped down from police commissioner, no one approached him to discuss the case. 

John Rizzo said that the investigation was initiated after he was approached by the Attorney General in mid October 2012, asking whether they should investigate a report on the case by OLAF, which involved John Dalli and Silvio Zammit. The AG handed over OLAF’s report to Mr Rizzo, after which Mr Rizzo put together an investigating team. In a meeting held between the investigation team and the Attorney General, it was agreed that the case should be investigated afresh.

Mr Rizzo said he wanted to confirm whether the report was correct, and conclusive.

The investigating team spoke to all stakeholders, including foreigners investigating the case on behalf of OLAF.

It was concluded that criminal action should be taken against Silvio Zammit and John Dalli. Mr Rizzo said he wanted to speak with Mr Dalli before arraigning him on trading in influence charges, however the latter was abroad, and couldn’t return due to health conditions.

Silvio Zammit

Mr Rizzo was replaced as commissioner on April 12 2013, and the new commissioner, Peter Paul Zammit, carried out his own investigation and decided not to proceed any further.

Mr Rizzo said that after he was removed from police commissioner, roughly a month after the general election, he had a meeting with the Prime Minister, who told him that he was merely removed because he had served for over 12 years.

 

 

 

 

 

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