Former IT minister gives up state damages court claim, seeks compromise

Marti Kuusik.
Marti Kuusik. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Former-EKRE IT and foreign trade minister Marti Kuusik has ended his claim for almost €32,000 worth of damages from the state following his resignation in April 2019 - a day-and-a-half into the job.

Kuusik cited a desire not to hamper the current government's work as trumping his desire to pursue what he said was a broken promise on getting six months' pay, though it is reported a compromise request has been filed with the court.

Kuusik says he believes he is still entitled to the sum, close to €32,000, on the grounds that he had been misled about what would happen after he stepped down.

However, his lawyers have submitted a compromise proposal to Tallinn Administrative Court for approval, with the aim of terminating the court proceedings.

Kuusik faced media allegations that he had been the perpetrator of domestic violence just before the incoming cabinet took its oath of office at the Riigikogu. When it was Kuusik's turn to step up to swear the oath, President Kersti Kaljulaid, overseeing proceedings, vacated the chamber.

Kuusik resigned on May 1, but pursued a claim for six months' pay. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, under whose remit the Minister for IT and Foreign Trade lies, said at the time that no compensation would be forthcoming.

As reported on ERR News, the original hearing at Tallinn Administrative Court was set for February and was to see testimonies from three leading government members, including Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) but this was rejected on the grounds the testimonies would be practically identical. Three months later, no progress had been made, though via spokespeople the government last week said it was keen to get closure, adding that the ball was in Kuusik's court.

"I decided not to move forward with the dispute because I have a major dilemma in this matter - on the one hand, I had believed in good faith the word I was given, which, as it turned out, did not hold, and therefore I filed a claim for compensation," Kuusik said Monday, according to ERR's online news in Estonian.

"On the other hand, it is even more important to me to keep my fingers crossed for the current government, and not to create a situation where one minister has to sue another minister," he went on.

At the same time, his compensation demands were reasonable, Kuusik found.

"I just wanted the promise that was made when I was asked to leave the government to be met in practise. At the same time, I still have great respect for the Prime Minister and the government as a whole. -

These people are working under great pressure for the benefit of society as a whole, and I hope that this administration will survive, succeed and work well together," Kuusik said Monday.

Tallinn Administrative Court told ERR Monday that the aforementioned application to wrap up proceedings had been received. The court must now examine the documents and decide whether to approve the compromise as soon as possible. No potential sum that this might involve was reported.

In his original complaint, Kuusik said that he was unhappy with a letter sent by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) to President Kersti Kaljulaid on April 30 2019, which, he said, incorrectly worded his resignation.

Kuusik considered that the mistake made in drawing it up could be corrected, and asked to be paid damages to the amount of six months' salary, or €31,458.36.

The hearings into the domestic violence allegations are being heard at Viru County Court, in closed-door sittings.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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