Former European commissioner and PN minister John Dalli has said the Prime Minister was wrong not to have sacked his chief of staff Keith Schembri and tourism minister Konrad Mizzi when they were implicated in the Panama Papers almost two years ago.
“If I were advising the Nationalist Party, I would tell them to continue focusing their attacks on Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri and not on the police commissioner and Attorney General, because that’s where the real beef lies,” he said in a phone call with Lovin Malta. “It was not on for a minister and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff to open Panama companies and try to open bank accounts for them, and Joseph Muscat was wrong not to have removed them.”
Dalli dismissed the argument that the police commissioner and Attorney General should be sacked because they had failed to investigate Mizzi and Schembri for corruption.
“If they could have investigated [Mizzi and Schembri] but didn’t, then they were wrong not to do so, but I have doubts about what investigations they could have carried out,” he said.
John Dalli said the PN should resume its pre-electoral criticism of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri
Here, Dalli was asked about damning reports by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) which had implicated Mizzi and Schembri of money laundering and which had been leaked to the press and the Opposition before last June’s election.
“From what I heard, some of those FIAU reports were incomplete, and as such I would rather await the conclusion of the ongoing magisterial inquiries before passing justice,” he said. “It seems everyone in Malta has become judge, jury and executioner just because they post on Facebook.”
The Panama Papers was arguably the greatest ever exposé of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was assassinated in a car bomb earlier this month. Asked why he didn’t air his views about Mizzi and Schembri sooner, Dalli said he wasn’t in a position of influence and didn’t want the media coverage that speaking out publicly would have brought him.
Dalli has re-appeared on the public scene since the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia on 16 October – which strangely took place exactly five years to the hour since he resigned as European Health Commissioner. First, he reacted strongly to a recording – published by a Swedish newspaper – which allegedly showed how his former canvasser Silvio Zammit had solicited €10 million from the European Smokeless Tobacco Council to set up a meeting with Dalli.
Today, he penned an article in the Times of Malta which decried “poison pen journalism” as having the same effect as murder.
John Dalli said today that ‘poison-pen journalism’ has the same effect as murder
‘I’m angry because I can’t face Daphne in court now’
Daphne Caruana Galizia was one of John Dalli’s harshest critics, notably accusing him of profiting off a Ponzi scheme which had scammed evangelical Christians of millions of dollars. Caruana Galizia reported that Dalli had secretly travelled to the Bahamas in 2012 to meet American con artist Marie Eloise Corbin – allegedly his partner-in-crime in the Ponzi scheme.
Dalli decried the Bahamas story as a fabrication, citing an email which had been sent to OLAF by Mike Brady – a US citizen who represented seven elderly Christians who were scammed by Corbin.
“In the summer of 2012, I made a trip to the Bahamas to meet with a potential investor regarding the MYT engine/water purification generating system that our foundation, Serving Christ Humanitarian Foundation (SCHF), of which I am the head trustee was seeking funding in order to negotiate a contract between potential investor and the designer of the MYT engine,” Brady wrote. “Mr. Dalli was there but in no way was part of the negotiation. The only comments he offered was if this project were to get off the ground how much good it would do for people in areas of Africa that did not have power or clean drinking water.
“Mr. Dalli’s only interest was from a humanitarian perspective which impressed me as a Christian by his concern for people around the world who were in need of what this project might bring them.”
Decrying Caruana Galizia’s blog as a “hate blog”, Dalli said he felt angry when she got killed because it meant he could no longer take her to court.
“I wanted to take her to court so she could retract all the lies she had said about me,” he said. “With this cowardly act, I have lost my chance to expose her calumnies in court but I will write a book about her lies one day.”
John Dalli with his daughter Louisa Dalli (right) and Marie-Eloise Corbin (left) in the Bahamas. (Photo: Daphne Caruana Galizia)
In the phone call, Dalli ripped into individual journalists by name, accused the international press of relying on the lies fed to them by Maltese journalists in their coverage of Caruana Galizia’s murder, and claimed the murder hasn’t provoked real public anger.
“I cannot see any anger…I don’t see people angry at what happened when I go shopping or to church,” he said. “Who is this so-called civil society? Who do people like Andrew Borg Cardona and Michael Briguglio represent? I cannot see any anger, only gimmicks.”
A few minutes after the phone call ended, Dalli called Lovin Malta up himself to inform us he recently received two anonymous death threats via email, which he has passed on to the police.
“One of them read ‘Daphne – car bomb; John Dalli – ?’, insinuating that it is soon my turn to get killed. This shows the extent of the malice (hdura) which has spread since Caruana Galizia’s murder.”