Rapid test tender brings misdemeanor proceedings against education minister

Liina Kersna at a press conference on February 10, 2022.
Liina Kersna at a press conference on February 10, 2022. Source: Stenbocki maja

The Ministry of Finance, after analyzing its counterpart for education and research's COVID-19 rapid test tenders from last year, has brought misdemeanor proceedings against Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform).

ERR's information suggest the minister was notified in the second half of last week, which Kersna confirmed on Monday morning.

"Yes, I have received a written summons from the finance ministry to give statements on June 1. It also said they have initiated misdemeanor proceedings," Kersna said.

She added that she will tell the ministry her version. "I was complying with a government decision in an extraordinary situation," the minister offered.

The Riigikogu opposition is debating whether to bring a motion of no confidence against Kersna in the parliament. Chairman of opposition leader Conservative People's Party (EKRE) Martin Helme said on the "Otse uudistemajast" webcast on Wednesday that the motion is a question of when rather than if.

The initial tender to procure coronavirus rapid tests for schools in October of 2021 contacted only a single bidder, with the ministry ending up paying €5.1 million for two million tests. The ministry's second contractor was also found via an unannounced negotiated public tender, and even though the price had now come down to €2.37 million for 2.1 million tests, an audit of the education ministry's conduct found that the second tender should have been handled as a standard public procurement since the unforeseen need criterion was no longer present. 

Editor: Marcus Turovski

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