Minister of Education and Research, Mailis Reps, said that the usage of her official car has been disproportionate, adding she is going to make adjustments to her everyday life. The minister says she hasn't been dishonest, however, and has amended her statements after checking the facts.
"In a legal sense the assessment is that nothing has been done wrong, but I will join in with the outrage nonetheless. In retrospect, the use of the ministry car has definitely been disproportionate," Reps told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) Wednesday night, reiterating comments she made earlier in the day.
A recent report by Õhtuleht provided photographic evidence that the official ministry car had been used three times on the school run for some of Reps' six children, with sources claiming the practise had been standard. Õhtuleht itself has faced pushback for issuing the, albeit blurred-out, photos.
Reps said that the logistics of transporting her children had been set, with her driver picking them up every day from a parking lot near their school.
Reps said that claims that the previous driver left the job because he didn't want undertake that particular duty are false. "I had a close relationship with the previous driver for four years. It was purely a structural change, nothing personal."'
Reps said that she hasn't been misleading throughout her political career, adding she didn't remember going on any trip using the ministry's car off the top of her head. "I have been on several trips; we like to travel. I had to check," Reps said. "I have been to Finland, Croatia [with the ministry car], and the rest of the trips have been done with my own vehicle," the minister added.
The minister emphasized that she hasn't lied knowingly. "I corrected things immediately. I have followed it up by saying that I haven't say anything misleading, I confirm I haven't been dishonest."
"Babysitting (outside of ministry staff - ed.) has always been a continual family support, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to do the job. Regarding logistics, of course, I apologize once more, I have reached a disproportionate ratio in the work-life balance and practicality, and of course I will make the necessary adjustments," Reps said.
Editor: Roberta Vaino, Andrew Whyte