Center Party minister: Mailis Reps must decide for herself what to do next

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

Former education minister and Center Party deputy chair Mailis Reps must come to her own conclusion about how to act in the light of another corruption scandal she has been implicated in, public administration minister Jaak Aab (Center) has said.

Talking to Vikerraadio show "Uudis +" Tuesday – Reps herself has not, at the time of writing, responded to ERR's attempts to contact her by phone Monday and Tuesday – Aab, who also sits on the party's board said of the latest media reports that: "If this is true, then of course it is unfortunate, and the decisions should first be made first and foremost by Mailis himself".

Evening paper Õhtuleht reported Monday that Reps had dined at a fancy Tallinn restaurant as part of her 45th birthday celebrations in January 2020, while she was education minister. The cost of the party, which the education ministry itself footed, came to four figures, the paper said.

"Uudis+" host Madis Hindre asked Aab whether Reps should continue as an MP, to which Aab responded: "I cannot make such decisions for Mailis. First of all, it is Mailis' own business. If these decisions do not emerge, the party board will have to weigh up the situation."

"Exactly what steps to take and how, I would owe the answer right now," he added.

Reps is also leader of Center's Riigikogu grouping.

"This is not simply a question of continuing in the Riigikogu or not, it's also a question of which positions to take. One also has to consider and think about whether there are any roles or positions or statuses ... which should be given up or not. This is the order – first Mailis Reps and then the party board take a position," Aab said.

Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Reps stepped down as minister of education in November last year after Õhtuleht reported that she had used her ministerial car for personal use, mainly making the school run – but also for a family trip to Croatia.

On November 24, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) initiated misdemeanor and on February 19 Reps, who headed up Center's negotiation team in January's talks with the Reform Party ahead of forming the current coalition, was formally charged with embezzlement.

The alleged misappropriation ranged from the installation of a coffee machine purchased for the ministry, through to the use of a ministry car, including fuel bill, for the trip to Croatia, plus hundreds on accommodation and flights.

Aab said that the Reps has not yet explained the situation to the party.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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