Parliamentary Ombudsman Wants Answers From Interior Minister

Parliamentary Ombudsman Wants Answers From Interior Minister

Published July 30, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Kaisu Nevasalmi

The Parliamentary Ombudsman, after having spoken with both former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson and State Prosecutor Sigríður Friðjónsdóttir, is now demanding that Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir answer to allegations that she may have tried to influence the course of the ongoing police investigation of her ministry.

RÚV reports that Parliamentary Ombudsman Tryggvi Gunnarsson sent a formal request to the minister which poses two main questions.

Firstly, the ombudsman has asked the minister if she did, on at least one occasion, call Stefán into her office and express displeasure with the course of police investigations of the Ministry of the Interior. Second, Tryggvi wants to know if she also phoned Stefán and told him she was unhappy with police conduct during the investigations.

The minister has until August 15 to answer these questions. She has refused to comment on the matter to members of the press.

As reported, sources who spoke to DV said the exchanges between Hanna Birna and Stefán happened while he was still involved with the investigation of her ministry. It is reported he shared this information with a few close colleagues, and with the State Prosecutor. Shortly thereafter, Stefán resigned from his post, taking on a new job as Department Head of the Social Welfare Department for the City of Reykjavík. Neither Stefán nor the Sigríður have categorically denied the story.

In the wake of the news, 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, in addition to Stefán and Sigríður.

Police have been investigating 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.


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