Norway’s new Minister of Climate and the Environment Tine Sundtoft has frozen NOK 60 million (USD 10 million) that was earmarked to support the work of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), following revelations that the money was instead being used on first-class airfare and luxury hotel accommodation for GGGI officials.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that Norway has granted NOK 84 million to GGGI, which is led by former Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. The money, meant to fund environmental protection and climate projects in Ethiopia and Indonesia, was in line with an agreement between GGGI and Sundtoft’s predecessor, former Norwegian Minister of the Environment Bård Vegar Solhjell.
Instead, Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet has reported that Rasmussen has spent around NOK 800,000 flying first class all over the world and staying in luxury hotel suites costing between NOK 5,000 and NOK 10,000 per night. The former prime minister even took his daughter along on one of the trips.
Rasmussen has since apologized for his expensive travel, blaming it on “another culture” in South Korea, where GGGI is based. It was South Korean auditors, however, who sounded the alarm on GGGI’s spending habits and financial management. The growing scandal around GGGI, now under investigation, also led to a public rebuke of the Danish minister in charge of foreign aid, Christian Friis Bach.