Misused MP expenses can be reclaimed, says lawyer
A senior partner at Cobalt law firm, Jaanus Mody, said the Chancellery of Parliament could be breaking the law by paying for expenses of MPs that are not subject to compensation by the state.
Mody said the chancellery must check whether each expense is used for Parliament-related activities, Eesti Päevaleht reported.
“If the chancellery is not completely sure that an expense is connected to official Parliament duties, then in my opinion, it should ask for further explanations and documents, and hold off from payment until it is sure,” Mody said.
Moday said that despite there being no rules for reclaiming false expenses, the chancellery could ask funds back on a clause in the Law of Obligations Act, which deals with unjustified enrichment.
Expenses of the 101 Parliament members for the past six months were released in mid-September, causing a stir, as documents revealed that a number of MPs had leased powerful vehicles from monthly expenses.
One, Center Party's Mihhail Stalnuhhin, is using his expense account to lease an SUV for his family, holding no drivers license of his own.
Four MPs used up every cent of their expense account in the first six month, with a number on MPs only leaving a few cents or euros. MPs can spend up to 30 percent of their monthly salaries on Parliament work related expenses.
An MP makes 3,444 euros gross per month, more than three times the national average.