Inspectors confirm corruption at CHP’s İzmir municipality

Inspectors confirm corruption at CHP’s İzmir municipality

İzmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu

January 01, 2011, Saturday/ 16:54:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Claims of corruption and irregularities at Republican People's Party's (CHP) İzmir Municipality have been confirmed by inspectors from the Court of Accounts, who said the mayor was responsible for losses and damages to the municipality, the Yeni Şafak daily reported yesterday.

Inspectors from the Interior Ministry and Court of Accounts recently took action following corruption allegations at the İzmir Municipality and found irregularities at some municipal companies such as the İzmir Waterworks Authority (İZSU), İzmir Fair Services Culture and Art Affairs Trade Inc. (İZFAŞ) and İzmir Transportation Services A.Ş. (İZULAŞ).

According to a report filed by Court of Accounts inspectors, irregularities at the İzmir Municipality, İzmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu accounted for losses of TL 3,825,000 suffered by the municipality during the transfer of rights and the operation of sea transportation services to the municipality's İZDENİZ A.Ş. Inspectors also said the municipality did not inform the Interior Ministry of the transfer, which was against the law.

The inspectors reportedly said there are currently a number of cases filed against Kocaoğlu at the Council of State and that they would be filing additional criminal complaints in reference to their new findings.

Corruption allegations at the municipality were first exposed by the municipality’s former secretary-general, Ersu Hızır, who was controversially removed from duty by Kocaoğlu after the revelations. Hızır had told journalist Süleyman Gençel in September that corrupt practices were in place in many departments of the municipality and said Kocaoğlu was aware of them.

Kocaoğlu responded to the allegations yesterday and accused some press organs of accusing him “with exaggerated stories.” He said, “We do not have anything for which we cannot give an account.” Attention has now turned to CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who has been accusing the government of corruption and has vowed to fight against every kind of corruption. The question is now whether he will take action against Kocaoğlu.

Kılıçdaroğlu is known for the “corruption files” that he brought up against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) officials, most of which have been already been proven untrue. The latest of these came last month when Kılıçdaroğlu, during a speech in Parliament criticizing the government’s management of the economy and the 2011 budget, brought forward a file related to allegations of corruption in Kayseri province dating back to 2007.

He claimed that Kayseri Municipality, which is run by an AK Party mayor, the Kayseri Governor’s Office and the Kayseri Police Department were all involved in corruption. Kılıçdaroğlu’s claim was strongly denied by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who asserted that he has again failed to prove his allegations of corruption. His allegations, however, were proven untrue after Kayseri Mayor Mehmet Özhaseki made a public appearance on Tuesday, relying on official documents related to the alleged corruption.  

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