CSU mask affair: deficits in the fight against corruption


Status: 01/14/2022 05:01 a.m

Deals worth millions and the role of CSU politicians, this is what the sub-committee on the mask affair will be dealing with from today. BR research show: The Free State has neglected the fight against corruption for years.

By Claudia Gürkov, Manuel Mehlhorn and Arne Wilsdorff, BR

Today the investigative committee mask in the Bavarian state parliament starts its work. He sheds light on the amalgamation of parliamentary mandates and economic interests. In March 2021, the mask shops of the CSU politicians Alfred Sauter and Georg Nüßlein became known. Both used their contacts in state and federal ministries to earn around 1.2 million euros each from corona protective masks.

Fighting corruption with two hours a week?

The Bavarian Ministry of Health, for example, awarded the multi-million dollar orders for mask shops with the companies Emix Trading and Lomotex: Without a tender, as a direct award in order to get urgently needed protective equipment as quickly as possible. At the same time, in March 2020, the Ministry of Health reduced the weekly working hours of its inspector from 20 to five percent due to the pandemic. This emerges from the answer to a state parliament request from the FDP politician Matthias Fischbach. “Reducing control for an entire ministry that has awarded contracts worth billions to a 5 percent position – that’s two hours a week for 40 hours – is irresponsible,” says Fischbach. Effective combating of corruption looks different.

According to the Ministry of Health, the only employee responsible for internal auditing now has 20 percent of the weekly working time for this task. on BR request the department also writes that in the almost two years of the pandemic, two areas at risk of corruption were examined.

No controls in several ministries since the beginning of the pandemic

From inquiries of BR at all Bavarian state ministries and the state chancellery for internal corruption control, it is clear: In addition to the state chancellery, three ministries have not carried out any audits since the beginning of the pandemic, according to their own statements partly due to the pandemic. These include the Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science. The latter will only be checked again this year.

The Economics Ministry led by Hubert Aiwanger (FW) was the only ministry that did not respond to the BR request. Purchases of this house are also the subject of the Mask Inquiry Committee.

In general, the departments see themselves in a good position. Fighting corruption can also be ensured during the pandemic. The Ministry of the Interior refers, for example, to “freely available online further training offers” and “information offers on the intranet” for employees. In its response, the Treasury Department mentions the officials’ oath of office, which prohibits corruption.

Already ten years ago shortcomings in the fight against corruption

There has been an anti-corruption guideline in Bavaria since 2004. According to the Ministry of the Interior, it is working on a new recommendation for action. But this is not legally binding. This only sets “minimum criteria”; there is no legal supervision for the anti-corruption fight in other ministries. “It sounds to me as if no one in the state government has their hat on. That’s one step worse than I would have feared,” explains Fischbach.

As early as 2012, the Bavarian Supreme Court of Auditors (ORH) sharply criticized the fight against corruption: the state government was not consistently implementing the guidelines for preventing and combating corruption in public administration. Bavaria’s chief auditors paint a drastic picture at the time: in departments with a particularly large number of areas at risk of corruption, they calculate that with two controls a year it takes more than a decade for the audit cycle to be completed, in one ministry even 20 years.

Expert attests Bavaria deficits in the fight against corruption

Corruption researcher Professor Sebastian Wolf from the Medical School in Berlin has got an idea of ​​the current situation in Bavaria. His conclusion: the internal audits are hardly understaffed, little has happened in the past ten years. Because of the low capacity, areas that are classified as not at risk of corruption are not checked, and areas that are considered at risk of corruption only every five to ten years. For Wolf, who is also involved with Transparency International Germany, this is “an alibi function”. “It’s noticeable that we had things in Bavaria with Sauter, Nüßlein and the Tandler-Emix story that have never appeared in such concentrated form in other federal states.”


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