The European Commission is delving deeper into the trips and ‘charitable consultancies’ made by John Dalli in the Bahamas to establish whether he breached the code of conduct for commissioners when in office.
If this is found to be the case, the Commission might decide to start procedures in front of the European Court of Justice to terminate Mr Dalli’s allowances and pension rights afforded to Brussels functionaries.
The International Herald Tribune reported that Mr Dalli travelled to the Atlantic Ocean tax haven in 2012 in a bid to “move millions”.
Mr Dalli defended his actions saying he was there to do voluntary consultancy work with a group of philanthropist Christian evangelicals wanting to set up a multi-billion dollar fund that would invest in African business ventures with a charitable aim.
He admitted he did not seek the permission of the Commission to do such voluntary consultancy
He admitted he did not seek the permission of the Commission to do such voluntary consultancy, even though the code of conduct strictly prohibited serving commissioners from engaging in any type of external professional activity, “whether gainfully, or not”.
The code also empowers the president of the Commission to set up an ad-hoc ethics committee to make recommendations in case a commissioner breaches the code.
Asked whether Josè Manuel Barroso was aware of Mr Dalli’s Bahamas activities, a Commission spokesman said Mr Dalli had never informed the president of his activities in the Bahamas.
“President Barroso was not aware of former Commissioner Dalli’s alleged external activities while in office,” the spokesperson said.
“The Commission does not dispose of all the necessary information to assess the compatibility of the alleged external activities with the code of conduct of commissioners and is awaiting further information.”
Asked whether the Commission intends to take any actions against Mr Dalli, Mr Barroso’s spokesperson said that: “Not having been aware of these activities, the Commission is now seeking information about them to asses them against the code of conduct.”
According to the Commission, Mr Dalli is entitled to a transitional allowance of more than €9,000 monthly until October 2015. When he is 65, Mr Dalli will also become eligible for a further €2,311 a month pension.
The Commission considers Mr Dalli to have voluntarily resigned from his office in the wake of an investigation by the EU anti-fraud office
However, the code of conduct stipulates that if a member of the Commission no longer fulfils the conditions required for the performance of his duties or if he has been found guilty of serious misconduct, the Court of Justice may, on application by the Council (member states) acting by a simple majority, deprive him from his rights to a pension and other benefits.
The Commission considers Mr Dalli to have voluntarily resigned from his office in October in the wake of an investigation by the EU anti-fraud office (OLAF) after discussions with Mr Barroso.
However, Mr Dalli is contesting the Commission’s version and is insisting he was sacked by Mr Barroso. On this basis, he also refused to be paid the transitional allowance.
Mr Dalli turns 65 this October.
He was recently appointed by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat as a Government consultant on the reform of Mater Dei Hospital. No details have been given yet by the Government on his remuneration package.
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