The questioning of Margit Kraker, the President of the Court of Auditors, in the ÖVP U-Committee could be described as dry reading. She answered most of the questions from the parliamentary groups about Cofag with the Court of Auditors report in hand, which was published at the end of October 2022 and sheds light on the origins of Cofag.
Kraker therefore mostly repeated the criticism that is already in the test report. The cabinet of Finance Minister Gernot Blümel (ÖVP) constructed the Cofag without considering the specialist departments, and the ministry lacks the necessary documentation for a comprehensible explanation as to why a Cofag was needed. In the beginning, apart from managing director Bernhard Perner, who was on the U-committee on Wednesday, she had no employees, so she had to resort to external consultants. That was expensive and the knowledge was not collected in the ministry but from these advisors, Kraker criticized. Neos faction leader Stephanie Krisper took a more holistic approach and asked about general ways of fighting corruption. Kraker said: “We need a holistic concept.” Compliance rules and risk analyzes are needed that can be used to find areas in ministries that are susceptible to corruption. She also advocated cooling-off periods. First and foremost, however, one must adhere to existing laws, Kraker stated.
In two rounds of questions, the ÖVP did not have a single question for the President of the Court of Auditors. The questioning was correspondingly short, shortly after twelve o’clock the chairman thanked the president.
“I wish everyone a Merry Christmas”
“Meal,” said the Tyrolean ÖVP deputy and cable car boss Franz Hörl to the camera teams present when he entered the committee room. He also did not want to make an introductory statement, but wished everyone present a Merry Christmas. He doesn’t know why it was loaded. “I have read everything carefully and found no reason why I am invited here.” He is very curious about the questions. The trial judge also found it difficult to find questions. So he didn’t ask any.
There were wild discussions even with the first question. Nina Tomaselli (Greens) wanted to know if Hörl had donated to the ÖVP. Andreas Hanger (ÖVP) called wildly through the room even after a clarifying position. Even after repeated statements by the judge that this question should be answered, they wanted to prevent ÖVP deputies, Hörl was visibly upset after a very short time.
Subsequently, it was hardly a question of Cofag aid payments to Hörl’s company, as had been assumed in the run-up to the survey. Hörl was asked about advertisements in Tyrolean business magazines, trips to Russia and the Ballhausplatz project. The ÖVP criticized the trial judge because he allowed the questions. Hörl himself had hardly any memories or perceptions about it.
When he was asked about the Cofag aid payments, Hörl made it clear that he had not tried to intervene on behalf of his company. “That’s decency,” says Hörl.