Ombudsman Wants Clearer Answers From Interior Minister

Ombudsman Wants Clearer Answers From Interior Minister

Published August 6, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Parliamentary Ombudsman Tryggvi Gunnarsson is not satisfied with the response he received from Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir last week about her communications with former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson, and has asked for further clarification.

In a new letter Tryggvi posted to the Ombudsman’s website, the Minister is asked to provide more detailed information about the meetings and phone calls she had with Stefán while the police were investigating her ministry.

Specifically, the Ombudsman wants the following information or documentaion from the Interior Minister:

1. The exact dates and times Hanna Birna and Stefán had their meetings and phone conversations.

2. Why the calls and meetings took place, and who invited whom to meet.

3. Copies of all the investigative requests for ministry documents made by the police last February, and when the ministry responded to these requests.

4. Which of these meetings or phone calls were officially recorded in ministry files, as required by law.

In addition, the Ombudsman has also asked Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson whether or not new ethics regulations for government ministers have been established, and if so, what those new regulations are.

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.

This prompted the Ombudsman to ask the Interior Minister if and when these exchanges took place. Last week, Hanna Birna responded that she met with Stefán four times, and called him as well. On these occasions, she said she discussed with Stefán, amongst other things, “the security of the documents that police had access to” that did not pertain to the investigations, and also “when one might expect that the investigations will be over.”

Hanna Birna has until August 15 to respond.


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