Arvo Aller, announced last week as the new rural affairs minister candidate, said he will start assembling a team once his appointment is confirmed.
The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) announced that Aller, CEO of the Ida-Viru County Farmers' Union, would be stepping into the void left by Mart Järvik, who was released from office at the beginning of last week. However he has not been confirmed in the role by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) yet.
"Everything will become clearer after I receive the mandate," told ETV current affairs show Aktuaalne kaamera Monday evening.
Asked whether he would hire Maido Pajo, a former adviser to Mart Järvik who allegedly assisted Järvik in influencing the Agricultural Registers and Information Board (PRIA) in favor of defendants involved in potentially misused funds, Aller said he was undecided.
Aller also said that since the job came out of the blue for him, he had no candidate yet lined up for the Ministry of Rural Affairs replacement Secretary General, following the departure of Illar Lemetti, who was released from office the same day as Järvik.
Järvik faced pressure to step down after both conflict of interest claims involving the PRIA, which falls under the ministry's remit, and claimed inconsistencies about when he first became aware of listeria contamination allegations at a fish processing plant in Estonia. Järvik, who was the subject of a government-initiated inquiry led by Secretary of State Taimar Peterkop, was also charged with overstepping his authority, including in his relations with the PRIA and with the Veterinary and Food Board (VTA). Illar Lemetti brought to public attention some of Järvik's activities with regard to the PRIA, specifically his declining to authorize the body to claim damages in an EU subsidy fraud case. However, Lemetti was still released from his position.
Editor: Andrew Whyte