Trade Minister Trond Giske claims he’s looking forward to face a disciplinary committee in the Norwegian Parliament that’s decided to probe charges he tried appointing personal friends to top positions in state-owned firms. Others charge the committee is stooping to partisan politics.
Giske of the Labour Party was hit with the camaraderie charges earlier this autumn in connection with personnel issues at Entra Eiendom, in charge of the state’s commercial real estate, and at state-controlled Telenor. Opposition politicians in parliament quickly demanded answers and now the committee, led by the opposition Progress Party, has called Giske in for questioning.
Giske has steadfastly denied he tried to place friends in lucrative jobs and claimed this week that “there’s not a single close friend of mine on a single board” of companies in which the state has stakes. As the government minister in charge of business and trade, Giske has the power to make board appointments and exert some influence.
Martin Kolberg, a fellow Labour politician who sits on the parliamentary committee, complained the committee was abusing the committee’s role by calling in Giske. He said his fellow members from opposition parties, keen to topple the current Labour-led government in elections next year, were trying to “stigmatize the minister and the government.”