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Helme: I fully trust the outcome of the Järvik inquiry

EKRE chair and new interior minister Mart Helme.
EKRE chair and new interior minister Mart Helme. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Minister of the Interior and EKRE chairman Mart Helme said during a Riigikogu press conference on Wednesday that he fully trusts the outcome of the inquiry into the scandal around Minister of Rural Affairs Mart Järvik.

Known as the Peterkop Commission, the 10-day inquiry will look into the details around Järvik's former advisor.  

Erkki Keldo, a member of the Reform Party faction, asked Mart Helme if he will recognize the decision of the commission and will replace Järvik if there is evidence found against him.

Helme said he trusts the commission, but would not replace Järvik. "I have full confidence in the commission created by Taimar Peterkop, and I think these trusted people are there. And if you ask us if we will replace Mart Järvik, I will answer you in two words: We won't," said Helme.

Helme said the commission's report will be released on Thursday.

Peterkop was tasked with setting up the commission last week by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.

A scandal has engulfed Järvik after a potential conflict of interest was revealed which saw his former advisor, Urmas Arumäe, representing defendants in an EU subsidy fraud case against the agricultural registers and information board (PRIA), a body which falls under the rural affairs ministry's remit.

Arumäe has stepped down, but opposition parties are maintaining pressure for Järvik, already embroiled in a controversy surrounding Listeria bacteria traced to a fish-packing plant, to resign.

Ratas said the committee will investigate the powers both granted and refused to PRIA, and the alleged conflict of interest with Arumäe. The Listeria controversy is also being investigated, where Järvik made contradictory statements and came into conflict with the Veterinary and Food Board.

Last week Järvik survived a vote of no-confidence brought against him by the opposition Reform Party.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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