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Calls for new inquiry into fraud case

Former Minister’s role questioned by parliament. Opposition says University should not investigate itself

Opposition party spokesmen repeated their calls for an independent investigation into the case on the controversial neuro-scientist Milena Penkowa. This was after they were briefed by the Minister of Science Charlotte Sahl-Madsen at a parliamentary hearing Thursday.

Minister of Science Charlotte Sahl-Madsen concluded her account by saying that she would await a report from the University of Copenhagen due at the end of March, before deciding on whether more inquiries were needed.

»The account from the University of Copenhagen will not shut any doors for my, or the Ministry’s, processing of the case. How I will act as minister, depends on what this University of Copenhagen account shows,« she said.

University should not investigate itself

Science and research spokesman Rasmus Prehn was not happy that there will be no independent inquiry.

»The issues have not been answered precisely: How could the criticism by researchers have been ignored so long? Until recently, the Minister, rejected that there is the need for an inquiry at all. Why?«

»Why not take the step now for an independent inquiry, why wait for the University of Copenhagen report. Is it not meaningless that the University of Copenhagen investigates itself,« he asked the minister.

Information Act invoked

The Minister was questioned, unsuccessfully, on the relation of her predecessor Helge Sander to the case.

He is accused of letting Penkowa send e-mails through him to an independent committee in an attempt to twist its decisions. Helge Sander himself says he will not say who the source of the e-mails is, even though media and academics’ suspicions point to Milena Penkowa.

»Helge Sander won’t say who it is. But all communication in the Ministry is under the Freedom of Information act. Should the former Minister be forced to disclose the mails under the Freedom of Information Act?« asked Rasmus Prehn.

See a small gallery of the key people at the hearing Thursday.

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