Toobal absent from party finance supervisory committee meeting
Despite promises to the contrary, Center Party Secretary General Priit Toobal did not show up at yesterday’s Estonian Supervisory Committee on Party Financing (ERJK) meeting; Center sent alternate member Tõnis Mölder in his stead. The committee reelected Ardo Ojasalu as chairman and Kaarel Tarand as deputy chairman.
While Priit Toobal had reaffirmed as recently as yesterday that he had been elected entirely lawfully to the supervisory committee, the Center Party decided that Toobal nevertheless will not currently take part in ERJK meetings, reported ETV’s nightly news broadcast “Aktuaalne kaamera.”
“As the committee decided at its previous meeting to change its rules of procedure, this change is currently being contested in court, and for so long as litigation continues, I would rather not speculate on what the outcome will be,” commented Center Party alternate Tõnis Mõlder.
Toobal has appealed Tallinn Administrative Court’s Tuesday decree, with which his application for interim measures against the supervisory committee was rejected. Toobal had requested the courts to forbid the committee from blocking his participation at committee meetings before the appeal hearing. The courts, however, found that Toobal’s alternate member, Mölder, could participate in ERJK meetings in his stead.
“The administrative court also found [Tuesday] that the committee’s rules of procedure hold, and the rules of procedure state that criminally punished individuals are banned from participating in committee meetings and work, which means that he has no business here,” said ERJK Deputy Chairman Kaarel Tarand. “Secondly, I would also like to stress the fact that in standard procedure, we have hitherto understood what a conflict of interest is, and party secretary generals, who are responsible for parties’ financial matters, have given up working for the committee once elected as a secretary general.”
Tarand hoped that a bill currently being debated in the Riigikogu which would ban convicted criminals from participating in the ERJK will bring with it more conclusive clarity.
The Center Party, however, is proposing an amendment to the bill which would ban individuals connected to economic fraud from being members of the supervisory committee. According to the Center Party, rumors regarding committee chairman Ardo Ojasalu’s connection to offshore transactions have been circulating in the media.
“Of course we can add in all such variations, but if they thought that this would somehow affect me, then they are apparently greatly mistaken, as I have had no connection whatsoever to any offshore [accounts]," commented Ojasalu.