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Three officials face inquiries in GGGI scandal

Internal investigation criticises ministry officials for withholding information


The officials were criticised for possessing the knowledge that Christian Friis Bach approved the travel rules as early as November 6, but didn’t inform the minister until November 20 (Photo: Scanpix)

December 17, 2013
13:00

by CW


The scandal surrounding the climate organisation GGGI has already led to endless 'Luxury Lars' headlines and cost the job of former development minster, Christian Friis Bach (R). Now it will have consequences for three Foreign Ministry officials as well.

Following today's release of an internal GGGI investigation by the Foreign Ministry, the ministry has, in co-operation with the Justice Ministry and the state's external legal advisor, Kammeradvocaten, decided that three top officials will face official inquiries over their roles in the case.

“In the autumn of 2013, when there was political focus on the GGGI issue, repeated requests by the development minister [Friis Bach] to gain full insight to the case were not followed up properly,” the report states.

READ MORE: GGGI facing collapse after Luxury Lars scandal

Friis Bach let down
The report also conveyed that Friis Bach had asked that all the minutes and agendas from the board meetings be examined on October 5 and October 14, in a bid to clarify whether he had been made aware of the infamous GGGI travel regulations that led Lars Løkke Rasmussen (V) to spend close to one million kroner flying first class while acting as the organisation’s chairman.

The ministry officials subsequently reported to Friis Bach that he hadn't been properly briefed on the travel rules, which he in turn told parliament and the public. But that turned out to be incorrect because Friis Bach had in fact been part of the board meetings that approved the travel rules. Due to the error, Friis Bach fell on his sword and resigned from his minister position last month.

The report called it "objectionable" that the ministry officials gave Friis Bach misleading information. 

READ MORE: GGGI scandal dooms development minister

Withheld information for two weeks
The report was particularly critical of the fact that the ministry possessed the knowledge that Friis Bach approved the travel rules as early as November 6, but didn’t inform the minister until November 20, the day after the local council elections.

“Several employees in the ministry were apparently aware since 6 November 2013 that the development minister had taken part in the approving the travel rules in a GGGI board meeting on 12 May 2012, and that the minister had therefore given a false statement,” the report stated. “The department head should have been notified as quickly as possible with a view to informing the minister, parliament and the public. That this did not occur must be considered very criticisable.”

According to DR Nyheder, the inquiries into the three officials will not lead to their dismissals, but they could face demotions.



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