MP and former Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps (Center) withdrew from participating in a Riigikogu anti-corruption special committee meeting focussed on the education ministry, and putting in place anti-corruption measures there, in the wake of Reps' being charged with embezzlement. The former minister said she cannot give comment on a case in which she is the subject of investigation.
The meeting was due to start at noon and to be held remotely; Education ministry chancellor Mart Laidmets, Minister of Culture internal audit chief Krista Nelson, and Mailis Reps herself, were expected to attend. However, Reps announced Thursday morning that she wouldn't be taking part.
Reps' rationale was that, due to the ongoing investigation, she is not permitted to comment or answer questions.
Chairman of the anti-corruption committee, Eduard Odinets (SDE), said that getting an overview of corruption cases is extremely important for the group.
He said that it is certainly not a parallel investigation of this individual case. but rather focuses on the entire system.
Odinets noted the committee's task is to do everything necessary that accusations in the case won't recur, in any ministry. "The committee is monitoring whether the ministries are complying with the established rules," Odinets.
"The committee's task is to follow that everything is fair and transparent. We have to investigate why have these situations happened and if the law should be changed in order for these things to not happen," he said.
Reps was charged with embezzlement Friday, and stands accused of appropriating ministry funds in obtaining, among other things, a Jura coffee making machine that ended up in her home, and also staying in a hotel in Tartu during last summer's WRC Estonia, on the ministry's tab.
Accusations that she had used a ministry car extensively, not only for conducting the school run - Reps has five children - but also in traveling as far afield as Croatia, for a vacation.
Editor: Roberta Vaino