Seeking prestige protects the purchase: – That is right

Seeking prestige protects the purchase: – That is right

Meraker Brug covers 90 percent of Meråker municipality. Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTP

Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (Sp) says he received professional advice from the ministry that the purchase of Meraker Brug could be listed as an investment.

On Thursday morning, Vedum is due to appear before the Storting's control committee regarding the government's purchase of Meraker Brug.

This comes after the committee decided last autumn to examine the state's purchase of the giant Trønder property for NOK 2.65 billion.

Properties are around 1.2 million targetAbout 200,000 acres of this are productive forests, Statskog says.

Finance Minister Trygve Slacksvold Vedum (SP), Agriculture Minister Keir Pollestad (SP) and his predecessor Sandra Porch (SP) have been called on the matter.

Trygway Slackswold role
<-Trygway Slackswold role

Finance Minister and SP President

– There may be different opinions about the purchase. “I think that's right,” Vedum told the committee hearing.

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He says the state's external consultant said the property would be worth NOK 150 million more than the purchase price.

– The consultant believed that a private investor could value Meraker Brug at NOK 2.8 billion, Vedam adds:

– I followed professional advice, he says.

– Followed the advice

The committee will examine whether the procurement has been properly entered in the state budget. There are strict requirements to list it as an investment – and then it must be hedged against the market.

Briefly explained, “below the line” investment is placed outside the normal expenditure of the state budget because it is considered to be profitable.

Then they can spend the extra money without blowing the budget or violating the operating rules of the oil fund.

– Vedam says we got professional advice from the ministry that it can be brought under tax.

Keir Pollestad
<-Keir Pollestad

Minister of Agriculture (SP)

Vedham says a distinction must be made between the political choice to buy property and whether it is properly budgeted.

He says if the property is worth more than 2.8 billion they will have to do a fresh assessment.

– Full amount cannot be kept then “Below the Line”He says.

When the control group began operations in the fall, group leader Peter Froelich (H) said:

– There is good reason to investigate the purchase. This amount is significantly higher than Statskog's own estimate of the total value. The purchase price is also higher than the estimate of the Ministry's external consultant.

Pollestad could not answer whether the state made good money on its investment.

– You have invested money and it should generate income. Is the investment paying off or not? asks committee chairman Froelich.

– This purchase is motivated by assets near Statskog. This will affect other areas of state forest operations as well. For something Statskog is part of, it's hard to say if the prerequisites worked, Pollestad replies.

– Assorted at seller's discretion

Pollestad says no bids from other players have been reported to the government.

Thus they do not know how others have valued the property.

– This purchase process will be in a closed bidding round at the discretion of the seller. He says it would be different if the bidding round was open.

Agriculture Minister Keir Pollestad and Finance Minister Trygve Slacksvold Vedum responded to the control committee on Thursday morning. Photo: Eirik Røsvik

The decision to develop a control case was made by a minority of the group consisting of the Conservative Party, the FRP and the Liberal Party.

Written by DN in November 2022, Aker and Kjell Inge Røkke twice tried to get their hands on the country's most expensive private property. Then the state drew the longest straw.

Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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