Police initiate proceedings against former education minister over car use ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Former education minister Mailis Reps (Center).
Former education minister Mailis Reps (Center). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) has initiated proceedings against former education minister Mailis Res (Center) over the alleged misuse of a ministry car.

While the prosecutor's office said Tuesday that it has seen no evidence that a crime has been committed in using the ministry car, a larger people-carrier type vehicle, for non-ministry tasks, primarily ferrying some of Reps' six children to and from school and kindergarten, the PPA is entitled to conduct its own proceedings and is doing so.

Reps resigned last Friday following mounting pressure after two articles published on the website of evening paper Õhtuleht, and in the newspaper itself, provided photographic evidence that the car had been used for the school run.

Proceedings covered by anti-corruption act.

While Reps denied any wrong-doing, she promised to get the work-life balance better. Reps was also backed by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center), but nonetheless resigned Friday. The Õhtuleht pieces also claimed that the practice of using the car to transport the children had been a long-standing one, with one trip going as far as Croatia, for a vacation, that ministry staff were employed specifically for child-care duties and that drivers and other staff had been pressured into performing the tasks, a claim which Reps rejected.

The PPA has initiated misdemeanor proceedings pursuant to a section of the Anti-corruption Act concerning the corrupt use of public resources, PPA spokesperson Leana Loide told BNS Tuesday.

These proceedings will be carried out by the office for the investigation of corruption crimes, within the Central Criminal Police structure.

The prosecutor's office found no evidence of a possible crime by either Reps or by Õhtuleht – the latter had been accused of unlawful surveillance and had also faced a backlash over including photos of minors in the original piece.

However, the prosecutor's office informed the PPA of its opinion, but whether to actually conduct misdemeanor proceedings falls within the latter's competence.

Reps has since returned to the Riigikogu. Jaak Aab (Center) was appointed her replacement as education minister Tuesday.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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