Mask commission: Sauter refuses to testify again

In March 2020, one million FFP2 masks from Swiss Emix-Trading cost the Free State about 9 million euros. At the beginning of the crown pandemic, the Ministry of Health paid the highest price in Bavaria, amounting to EUR 8.90 apiece. Then it became clear: the millionth commission went to Andrea Tandler, daughter of the former CSU general secretary and Gerold Tandler, finance minister.

The path to the Ministry of Health was opened to Tandler by her childhood friend and daughter of Strauss, Monika Hohlmeier, by sending an SMS to the then Minister of Health Melanie Huml (CSU). The leader of the Bavarian SPD parliamentary group, Florian von Brunn, suspected a waste of tax money and in February 2021 filed a complaint against unknown persons for violating the budget.

Irritation due to questioning at the Ministry of Health

In an investigation, witnesses or potential suspects are usually interviewed separately and not in the presence of their superiors. At the beginning of the investigation, on May 12, 2021, it was different. This has irritated the opposition in the state parliament in recent weeks. At that time, the Chief of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Munich I, Hans Kornprobst, traveled personally to the Bavarian Ministry of Health for an information meeting; The head of the ministry, one of its bosses and a former ministry ordering mask are also sitting at the table.

Prosecutor: not too little, but particularly intensely determined

Kornprobst said on Friday before the investigative commission that the meeting with the head of the office serves only to gather information, e.g. to determine which other witnesses should be called. In addition, the visit was deliberately carried out at the Ministry of Health, for example to request documents or to interview interested parties. “Therefore, it should not be interpreted here that the prosecutor’s office did not do enough, in fact we did it particularly intensively, which is also evidenced by the fact that I participated in the interview as the head of the authority,” he said. Kornprobst after the survey to BR24.

Siekmann (Greens): The form of the investigation is “quite surprising”

At that time, in addition to another prosecutor, not only the head of the health department, Winfried Brechmann, was there, but also two employees who were directly involved in purchasing the Emix masks in 2020. Members of the state parliamentary opposition were surprised that they had not been questioned individually by the prosecutor’s office.

The vice-chairman of the inquiry committee, Florian Siekmann (Greens) found this “form of investigation surprising”. Especially since both of them later sent their written statements to the prosecutor’s office for correction.

Hohlmeier and Tandler “not applicable” in the case of household embezzlement

The senior prosecutor Kornprobst called it “irrelevant” to the possible criminal liability of the mask contract that Monika Hohlmeier “acted as a door opener”. Why the point that the Emix offer was particularly trustworthy because it went to Tandler at the ministry via Hohlmeier was then removed by the mask buyer in her final statement – she does not know about it. According to Kornprobst, the fact that she saw it that way is also in the case file that the prosecutor drafted after the interview on May 12, 2021. Moreover, the interview was not “an interview with witnesses, but a preparatory interview”. Two mask buyers had not been legally instructed in advance, nor had their personal data officially registered.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office in Munich I then discontinued the budget infringement proceedings initiated by the leader of the parliamentary group SPD von Brunna on August 30, 2021 “for lack of criminal activity”.

Sauter again refused to testify

Meanwhile, longtime CSU MP Alfred Sauter, as expected, refused a second time to testify in committee – this time at the start of background considerations for approval of the rapid corona test system. He has this right because the prosecution is still under investigation against him.

The commission’s task is, in particular, to explain the state government’s masquerade activity in the crown pandemic, the possible involvement of MPs, and sometimes high commissions for MPs. The Ministry of Health has repeatedly emphasized that the Ministry has never paid commission to selected officials. Like former Bundestag CSU member Georg Nüßlein, Sauter reportedly received money to organize mask shops in 2020. They both deny the allegations.

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