Coalition, opposition ready to do battle over defense minister

Coalition, opposition ready to do battle over defense minister

The coalition and opposition parties are set for a head-on collision in Parliament on Friday, when MPs will debate and vote on whether to hold an inquiry into Defense Minister Panos Kammenos’s telephone conversations with a convict in the Noor 1 drug smuggling case.

It is expected that the government will reject the opposition’s call for a separate investigation into Kammenos’s actions. Parliamentary rules demand that a majority of at least 120 MPs is needed in the vote that will take place for the result to be valid.

Kammenos has already been called to appear before Parliament’s Institutions and Transparency Committee in September, when he will be questioned about his contact with convicted shipowner Makis Yiannousakis.

on Wednesday, the head of the Piraeus Appeals Court prosecutors’ office, Panayiotis Brakoumatsos, invited three key figures embroiled in the affair to answer questions. The three people concerned are journalist Makis Triantafylopoulos, who Kammenos claims put him in touch with the convict, coast guard investigator Panayiotis Christoforidis, who was sent to question Yiannousakis, and Piraeus First Instance Court prosecutor Eirini Tziva, who went Korydallos jail – apparently at Kammenos’s behest – to take the shipowner’s testimony.

Yiannousakis claims that he was put under pressure to implicate shipping tycoon Vangelis Marinakis in the Noor 1 case, which centered on the discovery of more than 2 tons of heroin. Marinakis denies any involvement and said he will launch legal action, while Kammenos said Yiannousakis told him that he wanted to divulge important information about the case and that his life was in danger.

Another legal travail for the government emerged on Wednesday when Star TV sued Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and the general secretary for information and communication, Lefteris Kretsos, for 32.4 million euros. The TV channel claims the amount relates to earnings it lost last year when it failed to gain a TV permit in a tender held by the government.

The tender was later declared void following a Council of State decision deeming it unconstitutional but the TV station claims that before this happened it lost a number of deals because it appeared that it had missed out on a license.

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