Paper: Helme names businessman unfit for minister to important committee

Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE).
Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Minister of Finance Martin Helme's (EKRE) appointment of businessman and party mate Argo Luude to the Appointments Committee, which is tasked with naming members to the supervisory boards of partially state-owned companies, late last week creates two conflicts at once.

The Appointments Committee was established by a government order in January 2017 specifically to keep politics out of businesses' supervisory boards, a principle already breached by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' (Center) current government with the appointments of Luude and active Isamaa party member and major donor Reet Roos, daily Postimees writes (link in Estonian).

His approval is all the stranger, however, because an impeccable reputation is specifically expected of all Appointments Committee members, but despite Luude's claims that he was passed up for the minister position due to his being a shareholder in a company involved in the field, Ratas was allegedly the one to prevent Luude from being named minister of the environment last spring due to the latter's previous actions.

Namely, Luude is the owner of Eesti Keskkonnateenused, one of the largest waste management companies in Estonia, and in a 2012 plea bargain, Luude was found guilty of entering an agreement restricting competition in connection with a public procurement for street cleaning services in Tartu, and fined €17,040; the company of which he was director at the time, AS Veolia Keskkonnateenused, was fined €100,000.

Helme, who appointed Luude to the committee, has not provided any explanations regarding his decision since the new members of the committee were announced last Thursday.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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