Järvik issues draft order to release ministry secretary general

Illar Lemetti.
Illar Lemetti. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Minister of rural affairs Mart Järvik (EKRE) has prepared a draft order for the release of Secretary General of the rural affairs ministry Illar Lemetti, ERR reports.

The order has been sent to the government, which has its regular cabinet meeting on Thursday. Since it was a late addition to the agenda, which is generally released to the media Wednesday evening ahead of Thursday mornings cabinet session, the cabinet is not obliged to discuss it, but Järvik has requested this.

Lemetti's release must be sanctioned by the coalition government; Järvik cannot act alone.

Järvik's draft order has not been made public yet, as it is intended for official use.

Lemetti was at the center of a controversy which broke earlier in November surrounding Järvik's actions in hiring an advisor.

Lemetti said that the adviser, Urmas Arumäe, had made recommendations to Järvik regarding how to act in a mandate on a case involving the Agricultural Registers and Information Board (PRIA), which comes under the rural affairs ministry's remit.

Järvik had previously said that the reverse was the case. The very fact that Arumäe, a lawyer, was working for the rural affairs ministry while at the same time representing several defendants in a €1 million EU subsidy fraud case against PRIA prompted claims of conflict of interest.

Järvik had declined to sign a mandate which would have allowed PRIA to claim damages in the case; he later said that his authorization was not needed, providing a copy of a letter from justice minister Raivo Aeg (Isamaa) to back up his claims.

Järvik suggested Lemetti be released from service, but did not initially formally pursue the matter.

A commission of inquiry, the so-called Peterkop commission, ordered by prime minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) to investigate Järvik's actions, is to submit its findings Thursday.


Editor: Andrew Whyte

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