Norwegian minister in hot water over breach of ethics rules

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Norwegian minister in hot water over breach of ethics rules
Ola Borten Moe faces a challenge in hanging onto his job. Pictured is Norway's parliament. Photo by Marco Süssi on Unsplash

Norway’s university minister has admitted a violation of government ethics regulations when purchasing shares in an arms manufacturer.


Minister for Research and Higher Education Ola Borten Moe of the Centre Party has admitted a breach of the Norwegian government’s integrity rules and share trading regulations when purchasing shares in the arms manufacturer Kongsberg Gruppen.

Moe is said to have attended a government meeting about a multi-billion dollar contract for ammunition manufacturer Nammo, in which Kongsberg Gruppen owns an indirect 25 percent stake. A week prior, he had purchased shares for more than 400,000 kroner.

Impartiality guidelines were also broken when he took part in a government meeting in March, which increased the framework for the contract with Nammo. Moe has said that other share purchases in recent years have broken government guidelines.

“This is an incredibly embarrassing case. It is a serious matter. This means that my integrity as a minister can be questioned. It is a situation I would very much like to have avoided, and I apologise for it in the strongest possible terms,” Borten Moe told public broadcaster NRK.

The minister has denied that the share purchase amounted to insider trading. Norway's economic crime unit, Økokrim, has said it will investigate any potential wrong doing. 


“I think it is completely natural, and welcome, that Økokrim asks the questions they think it is necessary to ask. But I have a completely clear conscience about it,” he added.

Government ministers in Norway are prohibited from trading or owning shares, which could weaken confidence in the minister, the government or ministries.

Moe faces a fight to hang onto his job as his admission has been met with plenty of scrutiny from opposition, particularly as this is the third case of a minister facing ethics allegations in recent weeks.  


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