Prosecutors who were recently removed from an investigation of a charity fraud case were guilty of disinformation and violating the legal procedures for ongoing legal matters, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said on Monday.
Ergin, who spoke to the NTV news station, said the prosecutors were guilty of violating court orders in the investigation.
"We have been subject to too much information pollution in this [Deniz Feneri] case. Beşir Atalay has responded to allegations about himself. This investigation has been going on for three years. No one has ever intervened in the prosecutors' work during this time.
They were able to collect any evidence they needed. Neither the justice minister nor the prime minister has the right to intervene," Ergin said.
Deniz Feneri is a German-based Turkish charity, some of whose members are now being accused of channeling funds collected from pious Turkish immigrants in Germany to companies affiliated with Kanal 7, the television network that created the charity.
Ergin said the prosecutors wanted to issue warrants to suspend the financial assets of 19 people and also of any companies that the suspects were a partner of. "The court issued orders to freeze the assets of 18 people, but it said freezing company assets would violate the law." Ergin said the prosecutors had dismissed the court ruling and notified the Title Deed Registry to freeze the assets of the companies affiliated with these suspects.
He said the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) was investigating the prosecutors' conduct during the investigation.
The Ankara chief public prosecutor's office changed the prosecutor overseeing the probe into the massive corruption case last month.
Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Nuri Yiğit was removed from the case as another deputy chief public prosecutor, Harun Kodalak, a substitute member of the HSYK, was appointed to spearhead the investigation on Wednesday. With the recent appointment, Kodalak will be responsible for coordinating the probe, which is being carried out by prosecutors Nadi Türkarslan, Abdulvahap Yaren and Mehmet Tamöz. The three prosecutors cannot detain or conduct searches without Kodalak's consent.
The decision came after an investigation was launched over the Deniz Feneri prosecutors by the HSYK. The Yeni Şafak daily earlier reported that former Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) head Zahit Akman, a suspect in the case, had filed a criminal complaint with the HSYK in which he said three prosecutors had ignored a ruling from the Ankara 3rd Criminal Court of Peace in 2009 that rejected the freezing of the financial assets of suspects in the Deniz Feneri case. The Deniz Feneri administration is accused of funneling money collected for charity from pious workers in Germany into various companies and businesses in Turkey. Six people have been arrested so far as part of the fraud probe, which includes Akman, Kanal 7 Deputy General Manager İsmail Karahan, Executive Editor Mustafa Çelik, CFO Erdoğan Kara and Kanal 7 CEO Zekeriya Karaman.
Cihan news agenciesLast Mod: 05 Eylül 2011, 17:14