The Secretariat of the Supervisory Committee of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has said that the committee could adopt an opinion on the Dalli case at its next plenary meeting, on 20 November.
The OLAF Supervisory Committee comprises five independent outside experts appointed by common agreement of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission for three years (renewable once). Christiaan Timmermans (Netherlands), Herbert Boesch (Austria), Johan Denolf (Belgium), Catherine Pignon (France) and Schembri (Malta) were elected on 25 January 2012 and were supposed to stay in office until 2015.
Last Thursday the Supervisory Committee offically announced the resignation of its Chairman, Christiaan Timmermans, “for personal reasons”. It also said that another member of the committee, Rita Schembri, withdrew from any of the work of the Supervisory Committee in order to avoid potential conflict of interest with the “Dalli case”. This is due to the fact that the Maltese Internal Audit and Investigations Department (IAID), which falls under her portfolio as the permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta, had assisted OLAF in a part of that investigation conducted in Malta, as required by the administrative cooperation arrangement between the IAID and OLAF (a standard arrangement signed between OLAF and the respective authorities of the countries acceding to the EU in 2004).
Immediately after the release of this declaration, the European People’s party (EPP) group coordinator in the Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) of the European Parliament, Ingeborg Grässle, demanded full transparency on the reason for Timmermans’ resignation. “The OLAF Supervisory Committee has to disclose the real reason for the resignation of its chairman in the immediate aftermath of the resignation of Commissioner Dalli”, Grässle said.
The Secretariat of the committee has announced that Timmermans will remain a member of the committee but will be replaced by Denolf in the post of chairman.