Under certain conditions and technical restrictions, a number of journalists will be able to follow the submissions before the Investigative Committee for exceptional naturalization from next week, following a decision of the commission to allow such a thing, four months after its appointment.
Citing protocols and restrictions on the pandemic, as well as technical weaknesses and limitations, the commission has so far received ten testimonies, without the presence of journalists and without publishing anything substantial about the content of the testimonies and the answers given by the witnesses.
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Even after yesterday's decision of the committee to allow the presence of journalists during the taking of deposits from next week, the work of the representatives of the media will not be done smoothly, as the following will apply:
– 15 journalists will be able to follow the proceedings.
– After the start of each hearing, any recording and / or photography and / or videotaping will be prohibited. Journalists should be content with the notes they take.
– The necessary arrangements will be made for RIK to make plans before the start of the hearing process, which will then be distributed by RIK to the other television media.
– The Committee emphasizes to journalists who will be following the work that they are bound by national and EU legislation on the protection of personal data, which may be a precautionary measure for obsolete and incomplete reporting, as this legislation includes clear exceptions, the which are not indicated by the committee.
The premiere of the public deposits before the Research Committee will take place next Tuesday, 19/1, at 12 noon, with the witness of the former Minister of Finance, Harry Georgiadis.
Yesterday's announcement of the committee states that the next two who will be called as witnesses will be Archbishop Chrysostomos II and the President of the Republic Nikos Anastasiadis, but the dates have not been set yet. Other summonses of witnesses will probably follow, as so far no statements have been received from law firms, audit firms, land development companies, bank executives, but also from persons naturalized under the KEP.
The selection of the committee, albeit out of necessity, to receive closed-door depositions did not allow for information on what witnesses have already testified or responded with a substantial contribution to the management of the exceptional naturalization program, such as the current Minister of Interior Nikos Nouris, the Minister Former Minister of Finance Konstantinos Petridis, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Socrates Hasikos, Eleni Mavrou and Neoklis Silikiotis, as well as the Auditor General Odysseas Michailidis. The secretary of the Council of Ministers, Theodosis Tsiolas, the former secretaries, Georgios Georgiou and Andreas Moleskis, and the responsible official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Christina Kaoulla, also testified.
They are still sending envelopes
Interesting is the report, in yesterday's announcement of the committee, that “the sending of additional files by the Ministry of Interior continues”, as in cases of investigative or quasi-judicial proceedings it is customary to request and secure from the beginning the necessary – known – evidence for the investigation, to avoid any possible falsification of data. Recall that in his first report on five naturalization dossiers, the Auditor General had pointed out, at a theoretical level, the possibility of data falsification, due to the easy access to the programs in which the naturalization data is registered.
According to the commission, “a significant number of exceptional cases of naturalization of foreign investors and entrepreneurs” have been examined. It is not mentioned whether cases of naturalization of relatives of investors are being considered. The exceptional naturalization files are about 3,800 and the total naturalization (investors and relatives) is 6,744, according to an earlier announcement by the committee.