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John Dalli says brother’s claims are serious

Former minister John Dalli insists his brother’s allegation that he had been offered freedom from arrest if he implicated him in a scandal should be taken seriously by “everyone”.

Speaking to the media after meeting Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin’s central committee, Mr Dalli, now a European commissioner, said his brother’s allegations were serious because they reflected on democracy and rule of law in the country.

“They are not superficial allegations and should be taken seriously by everyone,” Mr Dalli said.

His brother, contractor Bastjan Dalli claimed in court on Thursday, that while under arrest at the police depot he was offered freedom if he implicated his brother in a Mater Dei Hospital contract scandal.

Bastjan Dalli was testifying in court proceedings in which he stands accused of conspiring to deal in cannabis in December 2008 and violating police bail conditions when he travelled to Libya.

He told Magistrate Miriam Hayman that while in a holding cell at police headquarters in Floriana in December 2008, a person came to the hatch in the door and told him he had a proposition.

The man, who Mr Dalli said he could not identify, told him if he admitted his brother was involved in a scandal over the award of a contract to supply medical equipment to the hospital, he would be freed. Mr Dalli said he immediately told the person to leave and informed his brother, who at the time was Social Policy Minister, about the incident soon after. According to Mr Dalli, his brother said he would inform the Police Commissioner but he was not sure whether that had actually happened.

When asked about this, Police Commissioner John Rizzo would not comment and asked for questions to be sent to the police media office.

The Mater Dei Hospital medical equipment tender was the subject of a false report drawn up by Joe Zahra, who was commissioned by one of the unsuccessful bidders. The report had falsely implicated Mr Dalli who, at the time, was Finance Minister.

Mr Zahra was found guilty of fabricating the report and jailed for two years.

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