Prime minister calls for Mart Järvik dismissal

Jüri Ratas at Monday morning's press conference at the Stenbock House.
Jüri Ratas at Monday morning's press conference at the Stenbock House. Source: ERR

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) has proposed the dismissal of rural affairs minister Mart Järvik (EKRE), ERR reports.

Speaking at a press conference Monday morning and following an extraordinary government meeting over the phone on the situation with Järvik and ministry secretary general Illar Lemetti, who was released from his post this morning, Ratas said that Järvik has caused significant problems with his words, deeds and omissions and made further cooperation extremely difficult.

"In the current climate of tension and mistrust, the government saw no option but to leave both senior leaders of the ministry (i.e. Järvik and Lemetti-ed)," Ratas said.

Ratas said that he initially proposed to Järvik to leave voluntarily, but the latter refused to resign himself.

Under Estonian law, Mart Järvik receives compensation of six months' salary.

Late last week a commission of inquiry into Mart Järvik's actions led by Secretary of State Taimar Peterkop published its findings after 10 days of work. The commission found that Järvik had exceeded his authority, as well as made inconsistent statements on when he first became aware of Listeria bacteria traced to the M.V.Wool fish packing plant.

Following the report's publication, Mart Järvik said he had no intention of resigning, with the prime minister saying the report confirmed what he had already suspected regarding Järvik.

Lemetti had been a key figure in controversy surround Mart Järvik, claiming that the latter had declined to sign a mandate which would have allowed the agricultural registers and information board (PRIA) to claim damages in an EU subsidies fraud case in which it was plaintiff. Järvik's then-advisor, Urmas Arumäe, acted as defense counsel in the case, prompting calls of a conflict of interest.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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