The leader of Norway’s national security authority, NSM, has resigned, and now there are doubts about the future of the country’s justice minister. This comes after a conflict arose over an unauthorized loan taken by NSM that has resulted in a cost of NOK 200 million. Some legal experts believe that Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl might not be able to stay in her position after this latest scandal.
According to Mads Andenæs, a law professional at the University of Oslo, he finds it hard to imagine that the Parliament won’t consider a vote of no confidence in Mehl over this issue. Norway has a tradition of holding government ministers responsible for everything that occurs within their ministries, even if they aren’t directly involved. NSM is part of the ministry responsible for justice and preparedness, handling national security measures in both civilian and military sectors.
NSM needed office space and ended up borrowing around NOK 200 million from a private real estate firm. However, Norway’s constitution prohibits state ministries from borrowing without parliamentary approval. Mehl claimed she was only made aware of the loan in November. The loan doesn’t appear in NSM’s financial reports, and the state auditor general couldn’t find any trace of it. NSM’s former leader claimed that similar loan agreements had been in operation since 2014 and that there had been dialogue with the ministry before the loan was agreed upon.
The government aims to pay off the loan entirely, which received majority support in Parliament. The Parliament’s disciplinary committee views the matter as extremely serious and is planning its investigation. There are conflicting accounts between Mehl and NSM’s former leader regarding the awareness of the loan by the ministry.
The conservative Progress Party has called for Mehl to appear before Parliament, although this move might put them in an awkward position since they previously controlled the justice ministry. Nystrøm, the former NSM leader, who had been an esteemed figure in the cybersecurity field, disclosed various hacking incidents in Norway. She resigned, stating her responsibility for the serious violation.
Mehl expressed regret over Nystrøm’s resignation and acknowledged the need to clarify the situation. Now, Mehl is responsible for addressing and resolving the issues arising from this situation.