If certain ministers of Jean Castex were reappointed in the first government of Elisabeth Borne, several had to immediately think about the aftermath: either to take time for them, or to set up one or more retraining projects. The former Minister of Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, transmitted three private sector conversion projects to the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (HATVP). One of them was revoked. And to clear up any misunderstandings, the president of the HATVP Didier Migaud decided on Wednesday June 1 to explain in detail the opinions of the institution concerning these three projects.
Didier Migaud does not find it “surprising” that Jean-Baptiste Djebbari can make several retraining proposals, because “he comes from the private sector” and “goes back to the private sector”, “he does not have a position waiting for him at the Council of State, to the Court of Auditors or the Inspectorate of Finance”. “Until now, the position of the college (of the HATVP) was not to make public” the incompatibilities, explained the official, but this time it was “useful” to publish the three notices, in order to “understand” the “reasoning” of the HATVP, he said, presenting the annual activity report. Thus, an incompatibility had been opposed to a retraining project of another former minister in 2021, without being published.
For Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, the HATVP rejected a conversion project at the shipowner CMA CGM, in order to avoid any criminal or ethical risk in relation to his former ministerial functions. “It was a very large group, a leading operator” and Jean-Baptiste Djebbari was responsible “in his capacity as minister for monitoring the activities” of the sector and the company.
“The ethical risk appeared to us to be substantial.” “We try to analyze the concrete situation and to assess”, in particular to “warn the person concerned about the possibility of an illegal taking of interests (…) We are in our role. We try to maintain a point of balance, “said Didier Migaud.
The HATVP has given a green light with reservations for the entry of Jean-Baptiste Djebbari to the board of directors of a hydrogen car company: Hopium. “The criminal risk did not exist, the ethical risk could be overcome, circumscribed”, estimated Didier Migaud, about this “start-up”, with “vehicles for the moment not marketed” and “which has not benefited from no direct public credit.
The president of the High Authority has in passing regretted a “clumsiness or indelicacy of the company and perhaps of the minister”, with the announcement of his arrival at Hopium before the publication of the opinion of the HATVP.
This announcement while Jean-Baptiste Djebbari was still minister for a few hours had raised a wave of indignation in the opposition. The institution has also given a green light with reservations for the creation of a consulting firm. This High Authority is responsible for monitoring the declarations of assets and interests of public officials – 15,574 declarations in 2021 -, mobility between the public and private sectors and the regulation of interest representatives (lobbies).
In order to avoid lengthy legal proceedings, it has been asking for several years to be given the power to impose administrative sanctions – fines – against public officials who do not fulfill their reporting obligations. 55 files were sent to justice in 2021 for non-filing of declarations, most often concerning “vice-presidents of intermunicipalities” and “a few deputy mayors”.