Scandal’s long, dark shadow

The public is following the probe into the Siemens bribery scandal with an understandable amount of concern and skepticism. Investigators are taking their time with a case that was first disclosed abroad before being taken up at home. And now that same case threatens to stigmatize the political system at large, both honest and dishonest politicians, and shake the institutions of the country’s democracy. The probe is moving slowly. It has been dogged by foot-dragging and serious omissions. There is no sign of boldness or will, there is no sign of urgency or sense of duty. The longer the investigation is held up, the further we remain from the truth. Concern becomes disappointment. Mistrust becomes cynicism. The widespread impression becomes conviction: Everything will ultimately be covered up. Everything will be forgotten. The political and judicial authorities have an obligation to reverse this course toward forgetfulness and concealment. Otherwise, they will be the first – though certainly not the last – to be discredited.