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Dalligate: EPP spokeswoman again calls for Kessler's suspension

Giovanni Kessler

Giovanni Kessler

A prominent MEP in the EPP Group, Inge Grässle, has called for far-reaching reform of the EU's anti-fraud office and for the European Commission to suspend OLAF Director-General Giovanni Kessler.

In comments ahead of a meeting tomorrow of the European Parliament's Budgetary Control Committee, which has summoned Mr Kessler, Grässle said: "The Dalli case has brought to light serious mismanagement of OLAF. Europe's anti-fraud office must stop its navel-gazing and cowboy style and start working again for the interests of Europe's citizens. OLAF needs a fresh start with a new Director-General at the helm. In order to ensure better control, access of the supervisory committee to all closed case files is necessary.”

Grässle is the EPP Group spokeswoman on the committee

Kessler is under fire for the conduct of OLAF's investigation in the Dalli case.

The EPP said figures  provided by OLAF itself showed that in 2012, the anti-fraud office spent a disproportionate part of its manpower on the Dalli case. While 365 out of a total of 465 investigations OLAF led last year did not produce a result, almost 8% of the total number of interviews OLAF investigators conducted with suspects in all of 2012 were made in connection with the Dalli case (5 out of 66). Similarly, six of the total 108 witness interviews conducted by OLAF investigators the same year were in connection with the Dalli case.

"These figures suggest a gross mis-allocation of resources. While OLAF's Director-General personally led the investigation against John Dalli, he must answer the question whether this came at the expense of regular investigations into fraud with EU money. The European Commission must push the reset button and suspend Director-General Kessler in order to make sure OLAF fulfils its tasks once again", Grässle said.

 

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