Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir may have tried to influence police investigations of her ministry, prompting the previous police commissioner to quit. The Constitutional and Supervisory Committee has asked the Minister to explain herself.
DV reports that, according to their sources, former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson was on one occasion called into Hanna Birna’s office where she expressed displeasure with the course of police investigations of the Ministry of the Interior. On another occasion, Hanna Birna allegedly phoned Stefán, saying she was unhappy with police conduct in the investigations.
Stefán reportedly discussed this with several close co-workers, and informed State Prosecutor Sigríður Friðjónsdóttir of the exchanges. Shortly thereafter, Stefán quit, to take up a new job as the Department Head of the Social Welfare Department for the City of Reykjavík last week. In his place, Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir was personally appointed by the minister to take over. She will lead any further investigations of the ministry.
When contacted by other media outlets, the State Prosecutor said only that she would not discuss the matter with the media. Stefán, for his part, tweeted, “Sought a new and interesting job and got it, ultimately time to change workplaces. Nothing else influenced that decision”, but did not categorically deny what DV reported, either.
The absense of a categorical denial on both of their parts prompted journalist and former DV editor Illugi Jökulsson to call the news “obviously correct”, arguing that if Hanna Birna did not try to influence police investigations, both Stefán and the State Prosecutor would have utterly denied this serious allegation.
Hanna Birna, though, did deny the veracity of DV’s claims, telling RÚV that the accusations were “wrong and out of the question”.
Left-Green MP Ögmundur Jónasson, the chairperson of The Constitutional and Supervisory Committee, told RÚV that his committee intends to have the minister answer some questions about the allegations, and says the committee will convene on the matter by the end of August. The Pirate Party has proposed the minister be called to meet with the committee in person.
As reported, police have investigated the Ministry of the Interior for the source of a memo which was leaked to select members of the press last November. The memo contained a number of false allegations about asylum seeker Tony Omos, who was facing deportation at the time, and was deported the following December. Police investigations so far are currently being reviewed by the State Prosecutor.