Alajõe and Parts appear before Riigikogu committee regarding Ärma farm
The Anti-Corruption Select Committee of the Riigikogu met to discuss the former President Ilves-owned OÜ Ermamaa. Then-board member at Enterprise Estonia Maria Alajõe told the members of the Riigikogu committee that the 2012 decision regarding the recovery of support paid to Ermamaa was not politically influenced.
The members of the Anti-Corruption Select Committee of the Riigikogu had two main questions for the two guests invited to their meeting, the first of which was on what basis the 2012 decision was made that OÜ Ermamaa had to pay back just ten percent of the support paid to them, reported ETV’s news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera."
Maria Alajõe, who was a member of the board at Enterprise Estonia in 2012, said that the basis for how the decision must be made was explicitly set out in the regulation. "In other words, in such a case it is possible to claim back five or, enlarged, up to 10-25 percent," she explained. "This was not such a case where the project is unfinished and 50-100 percent of eligible costs are concretely claimed for recovery from somewhere; in this case the project was completed and the facility opened."
The second issue that interested the Riigikogu committee was whether Enterprise Estonia’s 2012 decision was politically influenced, to which Alajõe replied in the negative. Also discussed at this point was the fact that in 2012, then-Director of the Office of the President Siim Raie helped handle recovery decision-related matters, having himself been a member of the Enterprise Estonia committee which distributed the support to Ermamaa six years prior.
"Aktuaalne kaamera" asked Alajõe whether the Office of the President hadn’t in some way influenced this decision at the time.
"No, [the Office of the President] in no way influenced this decision on the board level," Alajõe replied. "Yes it has been said that one meeting was attended by then-Director of the Office of the President, but that was simply a clarification of the facts; that was not influencing in any way."
Also invited to the committee meeting was Juhan Parts, Minister of Economic Affairs in 2012, who claimed he wasn’t remotely aware at the time of the decision made by Enterprise Estonia.
"With European funds there is a rule that in order for Estonia to be able to begin using that money, political leadership, ministry leadership and the implementing body must be entirely divorced from one another," Parts explained. "At the time I was as informed as a regular reader of the paper."
According to Artur Talvik, chairman of the anti-corruption committee, the responses received were legally sound and the committee’s hands were now tied, as it was not a committee of investigation.
"We likely won’t prove that the issue has been resolved here through political influence, but rather what needs to be discussed in society so that this political culture in such issues would change," said Talvik, according to whom they would be closing out this particular subject at the committee’s next meeting.