The commission announced it would also look into possible collusion between the Mafia and the judiciary. In particular it is expected to focus on Corrado Carnevale, a Supreme Court judge who has earned himself the nickname of 'sentence-killer' for the number of times he has quashed or reduced Mafia jail sentences.
Last night, after 11 months of manoeuvring involving the High Council of the Judiciary and Claudio Martelli, the Justice Minister, Italy's new anti-Mafia 'super-prosecutor' was to be appointed to co-ordinate the activities of anti-Mafia prosecutors around the country. He will almost certainly be Bruno Siclari, who has investigated cases including the Masonic-political P2 conspiracy, the Ambrosiano bank fraud and the death of its head, Roberto Calvi. Since July last year he has been the chief public prosecutor in Palermo.
MPs werethrown into bewilderment and indignation yesterday after Francesco de Lorenzo, the Health Minister, complained that police had searched his Naples office and had been about to seize papers when he stopped them. The Naples public prosecutor is investigating possible electoral irregularities and suspected he had lists of people who had voted for him and of potential voters.
The minister, a Liberal, said he had not received the required notice that he was under investigation and asked the Speaker of the House to guarantee his parliamentary immunity. The search warrant was withdrawn.
The Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission has given itself the task of reporting by the end of December on Mafia-political collusion. Mafia super-grasses have pointed to the Sicilian Christian Democrat leader, Salvo Lima - murdered last March - as the Mafia's man in Rome. The commission's task is unlikely to be easy, for many members come from the parties most suspected of collusion. The temptation to avoid unpleasant truths will be strong.
The same resistance seems to have played a part in the delay in appointing the 'super-prosecutor'. The top candidate presented by the High Council of the Judiciary was Agostino Cordova, the chief prosecutor of Palmi, in Calabria. But Dr Cordova had been investigating links between the Calabrian Mafia and local politicians and had asked parliament for permission - refused - to prosecute two Socialists, members of the justice minister's own party.