Soldiers report Chief of Defense

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Norway’s Chief of Defense, Harald Sunde, has been reported to the Minister of Defense and public prosecutors by an army trade union for breaking employment law and censuring soldiers.

Newspaper Aftenposten reports that union representatives of a national guard elite unit that has recently been dismantled have written the complaints. The complaint comes after four of the five trade unions operating within the defense sector threatened to stop cooperation with Sunde earlier in 2011.

Thomas Lund Nielsen, a representative of the HV-016 elite unit, told Aftenposten, “a line must be drawn for how reorganization processes in the armed forces will be undertaken, with particularly weight on freedom of speech and the opportunity to defend oneself when employers falsely expose someone to accusations.”

The Officer of the Auditor General of Norway criticized the armed forces earlier this year for a lack of internal control and for undertaking a number of procurement processes without following competition regulations.

Sunde has also been criticized for renovating the Chief of Defense’s official residence to the tune of NOK 20 million (USD 3.7 million). Defense spokespeople claimed to newspaper VG that the work was necessary, but politicians, including the leader of the Christian Democratic Party Knut Arild Hareide, described the news as “extravagant and provoking.”

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