The office of the State Prosecutor has asked for any Ministry of the Interior documents regarding a leaked memo about an asylum seeker. The Ministry’s explanation contradicts previous ministry statements and available evidence on the matter.
The State Prosecutor’s office published a statement today on charges submitted with the police against the ministry by the lawyer for Evelyn Glory Joseph, expecting mother of Nigerian asylum seeker Tony Omos. These charges include breach of confidentiality, abuse of public office, and libel, as the lawyer contends a memo came from the ministry into the hands of select members of the press which made allegations about Tony and Evelyn that later proved false.
The statement asks that the ministry explains “whether the ministry has, in its estimation, written the memo or whether there are other documents available which could shed light on that estimation. If such documents are available, it is asked that they are sent to the State Prosecutor. When the ministry response has been received, it will then be determined whether to refer the matter to police investigation.”
The Ministry’s side of the story, in a statement they published yesterday, is that “the estimation of the ministry and government management confirmed that confidential documents regarding the case have only gone to those who have the right to them according to the law.”
The Ministry adds “it is right to re-affirm that State Prosecutor requests are directed at the minstry, and not the minister.” There will be a response to the State Prosecutor’s request “in the next few days”, the Ministry says, but warns “we remind that in this case, neither ministry employees nor the minister can comment publicly on matters concerning an individual person.”
This statement is in direct contradiction with what Minister of the Interior assistant Gísli Freyr Valdórsson told reporters last November, when he said it was “rather obvious” that the memo had come from the ministry, speculating that an employee had “put together some points.”
Further, the ministry’s statement also mentions “the ministry sees no other reason than to believe that all official procedure had been followed in this case, and that ministry employees and its subsidiary bodies upheld the upmost confidentiality.”
The minister has herself implied in parliament that the memo in question could have come from the Directorate of Immigration, lawyers, or the police.
However, all available evidence suggests that no other source for the leak is possible, save for the Ministry of the Interior itself.
A response to the State Prosecutor’s request is still pending.