Three former Ministers for the Protection of the Citizen literally slammed Panousis later on Wednesday by revealing that an officer cannot issue an order unless he receives a green light from the commanding Minister (in this case Panousis).
Speaking on Skai Tv Nikos Dendias said: Noone can issue an order (or circular) without the consent of the minister, "even verbally."
Voulgarakis: "It is impossible to issue an executive order, on his own," leaving it to be understood that Panousis was well aware of the order.
Alternate Civil Protection minister Yiannis Panousis vehemently denied he had any involvement in a controversial document issued by his ministry on Tuesday night which ordered authorities to resit from arresting immigrants who enter Greece illegally but rather simply record them, claiming that he is going to ask for the resignations of those who were involved in its release.
The issue, which became widely known by SKAI Tv on Tuesday night, concerns an alleged order by Panoussis not to arrest undocumented migrants crossing into Greece but rather provide them with temporary residence papers for up to six months. The issue came to light after the Border Guards union blasted the decision and spoke of "hordes of migrants" entering Greece unchecked and contributing to criminality. The same order would also allow the release of all detainees in detention centres on Wednesday, unless they were charged with crimes and misdemeanors.
The document, which was signed by the Brigadier General Georgios Nitsas, provoked immediate condemnation by opposition parties who swiftly accused SYRIZA of being excessively soft on immigration and generated criticism throughout the social networks. The ND leader and former PM, Antonis Samaras accused the government of turning Greece into a ‘magnet for illegal immigrants’ saying that the new policy would have catastrophic consequences for tourism, public safety and Greece’s relationship with Europe. Samaras said it is "unbelievable, unthinkable and provocative".
After denying that he issued the order, and pointing out the document only bears the signature of a brigadier, Panousis said that he would recall the order.
"I have recalled the order. I had absolutely no knowledge [of the order] and neither did any political figures," Panousis told journalists at an extraordinary press conference on Wednesday morning.He said when he heard the report in the media he was also left in awe.
"A brigadier cannot take such decisions," he added, saying the fact that the story was presented by the media without double-checking with his ministry for validity created a "jungle of misinformation".The Minister said he spoke with the head of the Hellenic police who said he “was also angry” about the order and has asked for the resignations of all the officers involved.
After being pressured by reporters, he finally admitted that the document was made up of an amalgam of scattered directives already in affect but clarified that they were gathered out of context.
“This does not create a policy,” he said. “The various reference to scattered articles already in effect. This on its own doesn’t create a policy because policies concern priorities, hierarchies and the way in which laws are put into affect.” In his opinion, it has a political base it is not a government policy.According to him, the controversial document was never brought before him to be formalized and slammed the media for trying to pass it off as a new policy unknown to himself.
While speaking to SKAI Tv on Wednesday morning, government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis also defended Panousis statements claiming that the document was released by the initiative of a department official without the knowledge of the minister.
"The country’s immigration policy can only be decided by the competent ministers," Sakellaridis said.The order was also denied by Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis who was quoted as saying that responsibility for this issue lies with the person who signed the order and not with the relevant ministry.
Refernece: Skai Tv, enikos