Urmas Reitelmann: Riigikogu sinks into mud league
The Riigikogu has sunk into the mud league as the austere hall is populated by people who were caught red-handed, Urmas Reitelmann writes.
All the bright spots in the Reform Party's rather inglorious history have to do with crimes. Starting with the $10 million dollars affair, VEB Fund and R-Hooldus and ending in Aoutollo, bags of cash, Port of Tallinn lemons and money laundering on an epic scale for which the Reform Party minister in charge of the field was directly responsible.
What these people have in common are financial crimes. It is a mystery why they are still here in the hall of the Riigikogu, while it is also possibly precisely the reason.
Two Riigikogu committees have been putting on a farce for some time now. The State Budget Control Select Committee and the Anti-Corruption Select Committee have launched purposeful actions to hinder Estonia's cooperation with the U.S. government in investigating money laundering through Estonian arms of Scandinavian banks.
The entire "investigation" is in stark contrast with common sense and a sense of justice and hides a criminal conflict of interest. This so-called investigation is headed by a person who, being responsible for their administrative area, should be giving statements to Estonian and possibly American investigators, while they are being supported by the anti-corruption committee's chairwoman who stubbornly refuses to see this as obvious corruption.
What is unfolding is a farce and a sideshow. Those involved likely realize this as evidenced in Jürgen Ligi panicking when Louis Freeh was spotted at the committees' joint sitting on Monday.
They suddenly found themselves in a situation where they could no longer effectively pretend to run independent investigative committees or irresponsibly badmouth a remote party. This reflected in 45 minutes of procedural nonsense and an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to stop Freeh and other people who had accompanied the finance minister [Martin Helme (EKRE)] from participating in the work of the committees.
Members of the committee got a rare chance to inquire about the accusations directly from the source and, as captured in [Center MP] Oudekki Loone's social media post, be convinced that a conflict of interest held against Louis Freeh simply doesn't exist.
Interestingly enough, Jürgen Ligi did not seize the opportunity. Based on a previously agreed upon script, chairmen of both select committees said they were not given the answers they sought. Of course, it is clear that nothing could possibly have qualified as an answer at the hearing simply because the person giving those answers is unacceptable.
However, the person giving the answers is just what the doctor ordered. This is evident in the panic that has broken out among the liberal left and their blind rage against anything that aims to shed light on the massive money laundering scandal and make sure Estonia is among those compensated from the fines the perpetrators will have to pay.
The Riigikogu has a chance to escape the mud league. It requires the truth. These events are a clear indication of the need to form a money laundering investigative select committee in the Riigikogu and to aim questions at those who have been caught red-handed.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski