Former IT minister and state trying to reach compensation compromise

Trials like the one of former IT minister Matti Kuusik (EKRE) are rare, as most domestic violence cases are settled outside court, often resulting in sentences that ultimately are too lenient, a report by the Office of the Prosecutor General found. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Former minister of foreign trade and IT Marti Kuusik (EKRE), who resigned from the position due to allegations of domestic violence after one day in office, and the state are trying to reach a compromise in Kuusik's compensation claim against the state.

The Tallinn Administrative Court in its ruling on Monday cancelled the court session scheduled to take place on Wednesday at the parties' request, and granted them an opportunity to continue settlement negotiations.

Summoned to appear as witness at Wednesday's session was Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE). If the parties fail to settle the claim, litigation will resume in accordance with regular procedure.

Kuusik is contesting a letter by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) to the president on April 30, as he deems the phrasing of his release from office incorrect. Kuusik seeks to be compensated for the error in the amount of €31,458.36, which would have been six months' salary as minister. 

Kuusik handed his letter of resignation to Ratas on April 30 and said at the time that he was resigning as minister for the sake of the government's peaceful work atmosphere, cleaning his reputation and protecting his family. 

"I filed the application today to the chairman of the party Mart Helme and Prime Minister Juri Ratas for my resignation from the office of minister. Let me again confirm that the accusations made against me are slander - I am not someone who engages in violence," Kuusik said at the time.

"I am giving up the office of minister not because the accusations against me are true, but, on the contrary, in order to focus on defending myself in the criminal proceedings and restoring my good name," he said at the time.

Ratas has said Kuusik, who held the position of foreign trade and IT minister for only one day, has no right to compensation.

"It is true that there is no right to compensation - this comes from the Government of the Republic Act if a minister resigns of their own volition," Ratas said.

The prime minister said he was present at a meeting where Kuusik said he has decided to resign and nobody promised him any kind of compensation at that meeting. "At the same time, Estonia is a democratic state and people can submit a claim. If these claims are not fulfilled, people have the right to turn to court," Ratas said.

He added that he personally would not demand compensation from the state for only spending one day in office.

Upon Kuusik taking office as minister of foreign trade and IT, suspicions regarding his use of violence on his wife were published in media and the police launched a criminal investigation to determine the circumstances.

The Viru District Prosecutor's Office has now brought charges against Marti Kuusik in relation to an episode of physical abuse. The Viru County Court is handling the case behind closed doors.

Kuusik previously told BNS his complaint was not based on him getting a lot of work done during his one and a half days in office, but instead of him having to give up the life he had led until to become a member of the government.

"There are social guarantees for losing one's job as a result of major speculations, however," he said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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