Defense minister not to face committee until September

Defense minister not to face committee until September

Defense Minister Panos Kammenos will appear before Parliament’s Institutions and Transparency Committee in September to answer MPs’ questions about his conversations with convict Makis Yiannousakis, the owner of the Noor 1 cargo ship involved in a major heroin smuggling operation in 2014.

Opposition parties have been asking for Kammenos, who leads the junior coalition partner Independent Greeks, to go before the committee since late June. However, coalition MPs, who hold a majority on the panel, would not agree to this.

Following a stormy committee session on Tuesday, it was decided that the hearing will take place in September, which is the longest that it could be put off for. Earlier, SYRIZA MP Tasia Christodoulopoulou, who chairs the panel, had tried to postpone Kammenos’s appearance indefinitely.

The minister admits speaking to Yiannousakis several times on the phone but says he did so because he was informed that the convict had important information to share about the case and feared that his life was in danger. Kammenos insists that he simply passed on this information to judicial authorities to ensure that the shipowner could share what he knew.

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