ND turns up heat on gov’t

Op­po­si­tion calls for House panel to probe min­is­ter’s al­leged link to drug con­vict

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The gov­ern­ment re­mained in de­fen­sive mode yes­ter­day as the main op­po­si­tion New Democ­racy sub­mit­ted a re­quest for a spe­cial par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee to in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions by a con­victed drug smug­gler that De­fense Min­is­ter Panos Kam­menos tried to pres­sure him into tes­ti­fy­ing against a prom­i­nent busi­ness­man.

The pe­ti­tion, signed by the con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion party’s en­tire par­lia­men­tary group, also called for the probe to in­ves­ti­gate claims by Makis Yian­nousakis – who is serv­ing a life sen­tence in con­nec­tion to a huge ship­ment of heroin made by the Noor 1 cargo ship in 2014 – im­pli­cat­ing a coast guard in­ves­ti­ga­tor and other state of­fi­cials in ef­forts to link shipowner Van­ge­lis Mari­nakis to the case.

The pe­ti­tion called for the in­ves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee to ex­am­ine the al­le­ga­tions against Kam­menos and the pos­si­ble in­volve­ment of other gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, as well as whether there is a case for ob­struc­tion of jus­tice, try­ing to in­flu­ence the course of jus­tice and abuse of power. Shortly be­fore the sub­mis­sion of the pe­ti­tion, ND’s par­lia­men­tary spokesman Vas­silis Kik­il­ias spoke of “a scan­dalous af­fair” that the gov­ern­ment al­legedly tried to cover up. He noted that au­thor­i­ties have not or­dered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the al­leged in­volve­ment of coast guard of­fi­cial Panayi­o­tis Christo­foridis in the af­fair.

ND ap­peared con­fi­dent that its pro­posal would en­joy the back­ing of other par­ties.

How­ever, the gov­ern­ment’s op­po­si­tion to the ini­tia­tive was clear when the head of Par­lia­ment’s trans­parency and ethics com­mit­tee, Ta­sia Christodoulopoulou, re­jected a call by cen­trist Po­tami MP Spy­ros Lyk­oudis for Kam­menos to ex­plain him­self be­fore the panel. She said the re­quest was “ab­stract and in­ad­e­quate.” Mean­while, ND re­peated its call for a par­lia­men­tary in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the gov­ern­ment’s ac­tiv­i­ties in 2015 that led to the im­po­si­tion of cap­i­tal con­trols fol­low­ing a re­port in Kathimerini with ad­di­tional de­tails about for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter Ya­nis Varo­ufakis’s plans for a par­al­lel cur­rency as elu­ci­dated by his ex-ad­viser Glenn Kim.

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