Wednesday, 29 May 2013

John Dalli - Is He His Brother's Keeper?

Former EU Commissioner John Dalli was first elected in 1987. He was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for industry.

During July 1988 a container Number C 0285705 arrived in Malta from Belgium. The import documentation stated that the container had bottled water in it. On inspection the Customs Officers found that the container had over 800 boxes of liquor hidden behind some boxes of mineral water.  The import documentation was cleared by Marco Vella. The trailer’s driver was Salvu Vella. Allegedly the Vella brothers are Bastjan’s brothers in law. The container was allowed to leave customs and it was followed by customs officers to confirm where it was going to be delivered and who was going to receive it.  When the container arrived near Bastjan Dalli’s garage where he was waiting for its arrival to be emptied, Bastjan noticed that the container was being followed by customs officers so waved at the driver indicating him to keep going. Later the container was found abandoned with its contents. Dalli and others were arrested. Bastjan Dalli was charged and arraigned in court. However, the prosecution main witnesses, the exporter from Belgium and the customs officers declined to give witness. Allegedly they were intimidated. The case remained in court for many years and sentence was never passed.

It was during this period that residents of the town where Bastjan lived and conducted his business, many reports were made to the authorities about electronic goods and other items being sold on the black market. The rumours and allegations were that the people responsible were very well connected and protected by a prominent politician.

During 1993/94 Bastjan Dalli and John Dalli, including many prominent politicians, were mentioned in Ciro del  Negro’s diary alleging that a minister’s office in Mosta was used to plan the illegal importation of kilos of cocaine. From all the people mentioned in his diary only one person who frequented the office was jailed for drug trafficking on a large scale. The minister whose office was used for the purpose had to resign and his son left Malta never to return. He did not want to give witness in the case. Bastjan got away Scot free.

During 1995 Bastjan purchased Mixer Ltd from Joe Gaffarena. Gaffarena was equal partner in the Daewoo franchise. He had been operating the concrete plant for many years without planning permission. The plant stood on 40 tomli (approximately 4.6 acres) of land in Mdina Road, Qormi. On the eve of exchanging contracts with Bastjan, planning permission was miraculously granted. This upset Joe Gaffarena and although contracts were exchanged Gaffarena started proceedings against Bastjan Dalli claiming that the land was undervalued because planning permission that he had applied for was granted prior to exchange of contracts.

Soon after Bastjan Dalli had acquired Mixer Ltd, the consortium that won the tender for the construction of Mater Dei hospital awarded the contract to Mixer Ltd for the supply of concrete for the project.

Bastjan was also awarded tenders for the resurfacing, paving and general improvements of Salvu Psaila Street, Birkirkara and Midina Road, Qormi. He was also awarded a tender for the building of Government housing apartments in Floriana. On completion these were condemned as dangerous and not fit for human habitation because the concrete used between the floors was not up to standard.

He was awarded these tenders despite the fact that he lacked construction or concrete technology experience or qualifications. His tenders were not the most competitive either. At the time the Maltese media made many allegations of corruption due to the manner these tenders were awarded including allegations of the use of illegal foreign labour from India and Eastern European countries for these projects. These allegations were ignored. 

In 2008 John Dalli was appointed Minister of Social Security. Government housing was part of his portfolio. He was therefore legally obliged to start proceedings against Bastjan Dalli for the condemned housing project in Floriana. He failed to do so.

All these tenders and others must have been worth millions. However, during 2007 Bank of Valletta started legal proceedings against Bastjan Dalli/Mixer Ltd to recover Lm1.5million (€3.5 million) that had been outstanding for some time.

The following is well explained in the translated published newspaper articles below.

During the proceedings the judge issued the compulsory sale by auction of Mixer Ltd. The only bidder was a certain Neville Spiteri. He offered Lm1.45 million for Mixer Ltd. Out of nowhere and in breach of established law proceedings appeared John Dalli on behalf of his company John Dalli & Associates (Business Management Services) Ltd. He submitted to the court a bankers guarantee from Fimbank for Lm1.45million.

During their investigations the newspaper confirmed that Neville Spiteri was not in a financial position to meet his commitment. On the contrary HSBC, Neville Spiteri’s bankers had started proceedings against him and his wife Michelle for an outstanding balance of Lm326.196.25 (€750.251).

In his final deliberation the judge decided that John Dalli’s offer was unacceptable and against established law procedures. The offer was intended to acquire Mixer Ltd and to avoid stamp duty and capital gains tax amounting to Lm250, 000 (€575,000) and in breach of article 320.

Reporters asked John Dalli what security did Fimbank use to issue a banker’s guarantee of Lm1.45 million(€3.4 million) when John Dalli’s company, in 2005 had only declared assets of Lm50,000, Dalli in his arrogant, deceitful, intimidating way replied “I worked hard for the past three years and this work with God’s grace is now giving positive results. The curiosity of the person who wrote this article and his accomplices will be answered when the financial accounts of my company will be published as required by law”. However, in just three years, John Dalli appears to have made a surprising financial success of around Lm1.4 million, one waits that it will all be confirmed when the company accounts are published by the MFSA. 

Despite John Dalli’s statement there is no record of him publishing the accounts of John Dalli & Associates Ltd as he had promised.

For Fimbank to issue a banker’s guarantee of Lm1.5 million the collateral used to secure the funds must have been far greater than the capital that the banker’s guarantee covered. This is normal practice.  

It was these three years (2004 – 2007) that John Dalli referred to. He was forced onto the back benches in parliament due to allegations of corruption into the way the tender of Lm30 million for medical equipment at Mater Dei Hospital was awarded. He was cleared of the allegations made against him.

 John Dalli had stated that his surprising financial success was achieved while being a director of a glass manufacturing company in Libya with a consultancy office there. At the time Libya was under the clutches of Gaddafi, a tyrant and murderer.

At a later stage John Dalli was interviewed on the Maltese media whinging and whining about the suffering he and his family had endured because of the allegations of corruption made against him. The millions he made from his Libyan venture confirm how much suffering him and his family had endured.

In December 2008 Bastjan Dalli was arrested for trying to smuggle drugs into Malta. In February 2009 he was charged and arraigned in court against a deposit of €24, 000 and a personal guarantee of €46, 000.

While he was in custody he claimed that a voice from outside his cell offered him freedom if he admitted that his brother John was involved in the scandal of the Mater Dei Hospital medical equipment tender, valued at over €30 million.

Former EU Commissioner John Dalli came out in his brother’s defence. Putting on his hypocritical, deceitful, arrogant mask he claimed that that it would be a threat to democracy and the rule of law if the police failed to investigate his brother’s allegation.

To date, John Dalli’s drug smuggling brother is still awaiting sentence.

Other questions remain; how did Bastjan Dalli manage to raise the thousands of euros for his bail when only a year before BOV had been chasing him for €3.5 million? How did he get out of Malta to fly to Libya when he was on bail? 

Original                                                                                               Translation

Original                                                                                               Translation

Original                                                                          Translation

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