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Graubünden justice director stripped of police powers

Peter Aliesch and the president of canton Graubünden, Eveline Widmer-Schumpf, after the meeting

(Keystone)

The embattled head of justice and police of Canton Graubünden, Peter Aliesch, has been stripped of his police powers pending investigations into allegations of corruption.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the Graunbünden government took the decision to strip Aliesch of his powers as head of the foreigners' police, of the cantonal police and as head of security for the World Economic Forum in Davos, with immediate effect.

These measures will remain in force until the judicial enquiry against Aliesch comes to an end. Until then, the christian democrat politician, Stefan Engler, currently head of the Department of Construction, Transport and Forests, take over Aliesch's police functions.

Aliesch, who will retain his powers as director of justice and health, is facing allegations of corruption as a result of accepting gifts from the Greek businessman, Panagiotis Papadakis, in exchange for arranging cantonal work and residents permits.

The president of canton Graubünden, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, explained that the decision was not a judicial sanction, and that Aliesch's authority was being suspended rather than his powers being removed.

She said it was simply a matter of avoiding possible conflicts of interest and of protecting Aliesch pending a judicial enquiry.

Meanwhile, Aliesch reminded members of government that he intended to remain in his post until the end of 2002.

Aliesch also stressed that the presents he received from Papadakis were of a personal nature and not related to his function as member of government.

The members of the cantonal government also said they would support Aliesch's demand that his immunity from prosecution to be lifted to allow him to prove his innocence. The matter which will be debated during a full meeting of the Graubünden Parliament on September 7.

Should his immunity be lifted, Aliesch faces a judicial enquiry lasting between three months to a year.

Aliesch resigned from the Radical Party on August 10, a few days after the party's national president, Geröld Bürrer, publicly criticised him for failing to return early from his honeymoon in Italy to face the growing controversy.

swissinfo with agencies

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