Ellul-Grech co-operated with the police while they conducted their four-hour search in his four-bedroom home distressing his English wife and eleven year old daughter who had just returned from school. The police seized all his computer hardware, software and anything else they could use against him as potential “evidence.”
Although the defendant was not feeling well on the day the police searched his home he accompanied them to the police depot to help with their enquiries. Assistant Police Commissioner Michael Cassar had told the defendant’s family that he would return home later that evening. He did not keep his word.
In Malta the police do not need a warrant approved by a court of law to enter a property to conduct a search. A warranted officer accompanied by lower ranking officers can do so when someone makes a formal complaint. This system is open to abuse and John Dalli and the senior police officers that conducted this fake investigation abused their power and the system.
On arrival at the police depot, helping with enquiries turned into arrest and the next 48 hours became a nightmare for the defendant and his family. Although not well, under duress and intimidated the defendant co-operated with the police. On the night of the arrest the defendant was so ill that he had to be taken to hospital at 2.00am.He was deprived of proper food and sleep and was subjected to verbal abuse during the long hours of questioning. He always protested his innocence and accused John Dalli of instigating the sending of the anonymous letters, which the police chose to ignore.
On the second day of the arrest the defendant was so unwell that a doctor was asked to visit the prisoner and provide treatment.
In Malta a person helping the police with their enquiries and in their custody has no right to have a solicitor present during questioning. Also the police are not required to keep a written log for the time a person spends in their custody nor do they record on tape or video any interrogation they conduct. This leaves the system open to abuse.
16th November 1999 at approximately 2.00am while Ellul-Grech was under arrest, Mario Galea MP was involved in a car accident on St Ann’s Street, Floriana. Due to the seriousness of the accident the police were involved. The incident was captured on the American Embassy CCTV security camera. Allegedly, Mario Galea had a large number of these anonymous letters in his car. The Labour Party asked for an investigation into this incident but was ignored and the accident was covered up and the evidence disappeared.
John Dalli’s off shore bank accounts had become public knowledge two days before Ellul-Grech was arrested. A copy of a bank statement from an off shore bank in Jersey together with three A4 sheets of paper making certain allegations were being distributed by post round Malta and Gozo.
The bank statement that was circulated alleged that Dalli had $US346, 129.09 deposited in this account that was not declared in his annual Ministerial declaration. These anonymous letters continued to be distributed by post during the period Ellul-Grech was in custody.
In his witness John Dalli confirms that there were only two people that had access to the bank statements, himself and the defendant. John Dalli could have fabricated anything he wanted to protect his involvement in the Daewoo scandal and to discredit the allegations that Ellul-Grech had made of fraud at Daewoo.
30th November 1999: Second court sitting in front of Magistrate Dr. Noel Cuschieri. This court sitting lasted for 3hrs approximately. Court proceedings in Malta are like being at a cattle market. All cases to be heard are exhibited on a list next to the entrance of each courtroom. In general there would be twenty to thirty cases to be heard daily by each magistrate or judge sitting on that day. Solicitors and their clients having cases heard on that day in the same courtroom gather round the left hand side of the courtroom having a casual chat hoping to have their case heard first. If a case is of any importance the small public gallery is packed with strangers and media reporters chatting away. Just outside the courtroom the corridors are packed with police, public and witnesses etc.
As the magistrate/judge enters the chamber there is a brief silence. Once seated the court decides which case is to be heard first. Cases are not heard as per list hung by the courtroom entrance. Allegedly preferential treatment is used in hearing cases.
When the cases The Police vs Joseph Ellul-Grech and John Dalli vs Joseph Ellul-Grech were announced many solicitors on the left of the courtroom left to attend to other business. The court usher, as per normal practice, went outside the courtroom shouting at the top of his voice the names of the witnesses.
Without hesitation and despite all the difficulties and hassle that was to follow, the offer was declined and Dr. Bonnici was told to stick the money up Scicluna’s back passage.
In this court-sitting inspector Assistant Commissioner Michael Cassar represented the prosecution and cross-examined Inspector Raymond Cremona. Inspector Cremona cross-examined Assistant Commissioner Michael Cassar, John Dalli and Joe Gaffarena. It is evident that there was a conflict of interest and collusion between the main witnesses. These court proceedings raise many questions about the integrity and impartiality of the courts, the police and the attorney general who allow the proceedings to be conducted in this manner.
At the end of the proceedings despite the lack of evidence the magistrate wanted to keep Ellul-Grech in custody. The defence appealed that the defendant was too ill and had many responsibilities to be kept in custody. Legal aid was refused; the defendant was released on personal bail of Lm5, 000 and an impediment on his departure together with having to sign at a police station during working hours three times a week. This made it difficult when seeking employment.
It became evident that the defence solicitor Dr. GavinGulia was performing his duty against all odds with one hand tied behind his back.
In his witness Dalli confirmed that he had had his off shore bank account before the end of 1994. He denies the balance on the statement that was circulated. However, he does not dispute the balance of $US62, 504.90 as at 30/4/85 and the balance of $US46, 129.09 as at 27/9/84. These were statements bearing the same account number. These bank statements were given to the police by the defendant and submitted as evidence.
Dalli also confirmed that this account was his account and that the statements were copies of the originals. The defendant used to receive these bank statements on John Dalli’s behalf with his consent during the years he lived in the UK.
To support their charges the police instructed John Dalli to acquire evidence from his off shore bankers to confirm that the bank statement that was being circulated was false. It is unknown what Dalli had asked or which document he had forwarded to HSBC for their opinion. The evidence he submitted was a fax from his bankers that was not authenticated. This fax could have been put together in the same expert manner that John Dalli described the bank statement that was circulated.
The fax submitted as evidence from Dalli’s bankers stated, “Further to your communication with my colleague I would like to confirm that the statement to which you refer is a publication. Now, the account numbering system as shown on the forgery was last utilised in 1987. The account numbering system as shown on the forgery was last utilised in August of 1987. A reasonable rate of interest applicable to one-day notice account in September 1994 would have been 2%. The rate of interest quoted would not have been available under any type of US Dollar account during the period in question.” It appears that Dalli’s bankers are confirming something completely different to what they were supposedly asked to confirm.
Most banks do not pay interest on a one-day notice account. Also the debit figure shown on the circulated statement is shown as deposit, not interest as quoted.
1993 87 It is noticeable that when the dissolution of partnership between
1994 641 J.M. Scicluna and Joe Gaffarena took place in September 1997
1996 725 to keep its market share.
The 1995 registration figures are high due to sales made to clients with very low deposit.Many of these debtors defaulted on their payments becoming bad debtors.
Said signed the hypothec on behalf of the bank. Being a partly nationalised institution, as a general rule, all facilities exceeding LM50, 000 (€115, 000 approximately) had to be approved by the chairman and the board of directors.