U-Committee: Kloibmüller closed to post issues

The long-standing head of cabinet in the Ministry of the Interior, Michael Kloibmüller, is currently answering questions in the ÖVP corruption investigation committee. He served under several ministers, such as Ernst Strasser, Johanna Mikl-Leitner and Wolfgang Sobotka – all from the ÖVP.

The content of his chats, which have become public, throws a spotlight on events in the Ministry of the Interior, keyword: appointments – or, as the opposition suspects: post corruption. She sees Kloibmüller as the “linchpin of Sobotka”. Kloibmüller does not provide any information on post requests during the survey with reference to ongoing proceedings, as quickly became apparent.

Accused in one case and investigation in six cases

The president of the National Council, Sobotka, is being investigated on the basis of the chats, specifically for abuse of office, it is about a post in the police force from 2017 – the presumption of innocence applies. In the process, the Vienna public prosecutor’s office has held him as a suspect for more than two months, Kloibmüller said in the committee.

He also handed the trial judge Wolfgang Pöschl a list showing that the public prosecutor’s office is examining him in six cases of suspected incitement to abuse of office related to appointments to posts. In which cases is unclear, the names were blacked out by the law firm. The list is dated February. Judge Pöschl noted that it was very unfortunate that the investigation committee had not known about it until now.

Michael Kloibmuller

ORF.at/Peter Pfeiffer

Kloibmüller (middle of the picture) upon his arrival in front of the subcommittee office

“Intervention List Sobotka”

Right at the beginning, Kloibmüller was asked about the “Sobotka intervention list” circulated in the media, which was mentioned in a chat between a cabinet employee and Kloibmüller. Kloibmüller stated that he understood that it was about a processing list. Whether he was also approached with concerns and wishes? “It must have been.”

The Greens wanted to know how often Sobotka had approached him with requests for personnel: “Occasionally to check whether personnel issues should be carried out or not,” said Kloibmüller. The difference to the wish is “that you see if it’s possible,” says Kloibmüller. All sorts of wishes and requests from citizens are sent to ministers, sometimes by post, email or on visiting days.

How many wishes?

Such requests were also made to him – he could not answer how many – it was too long ago (Kloibmüller worked in the Ministry of the Interior until 2018 – for a total of 17 years). In any case, ÖVP membership was never a criterion for appointments, said Kloibmüller.

Ministry of Interior commissioned surveys

The SPÖ asked Kloibmüller about perceptions of surveys commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior. According to Kloibmüller, the ministry commissioned surveys on the population’s subjective sense of security. He was no longer able to answer whether party preferences were also asked about.

How often were such surveys commissioned under Sobotka? – like “once or twice a year”, said Kloibmüller. Questions were also asked about topics such as family allowances or minimum income, areas for which the Ministry of the Interior has no responsibility. No answer was received from Kloibmüller.

Cell phone data stolen

Initially and later when asked by the SPÖ, Kloibmüller complained that his mobile phone data had been stolen from him, that he was listed as a victim by the public prosecutor’s office and did not know the contents of the stick on which this data should be located. Now the business and corruption prosecutor (WKStA) is also examining an initial suspicion.

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