Senior German Official: Conditions for Asylum Bribes Scandal Widespread
The scandal involving alleged bribes for asylum decisions at the Bremen branch of the German federal office for migration and refugees (BAMF) may be even more widespread as a senior member of the agency has claimed the conditions in Bremen were not an isolated case.
Rudolf Scheinost, head of the main personnel council of BAMF, testified before the interior committee of the German parliament this week that he did not believe the conditions in Bremen that led to the scandal were an isolated case, German tabloid Bildreports.
“Bremen is in every field office,” Scheinost is said to have told the committee.The State Office of Criminal Investigation in Bremen have also increased the scope of their investigation into the affair, which now has some 50 investigators looking into the scandal which has rocked Germany for the last few weeks.
Also expected to testify before the committee are both the current head of BAMF Jutta Cordt and her two predecessors Frank-Jürgen Weise and Manfred Schmidt.
Weise recently spoke out about the scandal and blamed German Chancellor Angela Merkel for not acting after he had raised concerns with her on two separate occasions.“The failure lies in the inaction [of the government] since the challenges that Germany would face with the arrival of refugees were clear,” Weise said, adding: “The crisis could have been avoided.”
New details have also emerged from the scandal in which some 1,200 asylum seekers were granted positive claims, allegedly for bribes, between 2013 and 2016, with reports claiming that 46 radical Muslims were granted asylum status and at least one of them was a known terrorist threat.
The scandal has deeply shaken the German public’s confidence in the agency, with a poll released in May suggesting 79.7 per cent of Germans distrusted the agency’s asylum rulings.
The level of distrust was highest among supporters of the anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, but even a majority of left-wing Green Party supporters distrusted BAMF’s asylum decisions according to the poll.
The libertarian Free Democrats (FDP) have demanded a parliamentary inquiry be set up to look into the scandal but have so far been rebuffed with Patrick Schnieder of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), who claimed that the interior ministry committee would address the issue.