Eesti 200 leader knew about Slava Ukraini problems before election

Coalition negotiations between Reform, SDE and Eesti 200 started at Stenbock House on March 8, 2023.
Coalition negotiations between Reform, SDE and Eesti 200 started at Stenbock House on March 8, 2023. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Eesti 200 Chairman Lauri Hussar knew about the problems with the NGO Slava Ukraini before the election as founder Johanna-Maria Lehtme outlined the concerns, he said on Monday. Lehtme ran as a candidate for the party.

Over the weekend the NGO announced it will carry out an audit as there are concerns some donations have not been used appropriately by the charity's partners in Ukraine.

The charity's advisory board has also suggested the board is expanded beyond Lehtme, who is currently the only member.

The organization was hastily set up last year after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Over 6 million has been donated to the charity over the last year.

Hussar said Lehtme told him about the problems two days before the election.

"And she also said, among other things, that there was no basis for these doubts. This is all the information that I know," he told Monday's "Aktuaalne kaamera", adding her explanations were "exhaustive" so there was no need to return to reopen the discussion.

Hussar said, until the audit's results are known, daily politics and helping Ukraine can be dealt with separately.

Slava Ukraini's representatives will not comment further on the topic until the checks have been carried out.

Turning to the issue of additional board members, the head of the Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations Kai Klandorf said this is reasonable.

"If we see that perhaps the number of staff is small and instead there is a very large volunteer base in the organization, then at some point there are just so many activities that one person may not be able to manage everything," said Klandorf.

Many organizations in Estonia have signed up to the good practice guide which aims to make the donation process transparent and understandable for all parties. Slava Ukraini is not one of them

"But it is also a relatively young organization," said Klandorf. "It certainly does not suggest that something is going on. It may suggest that there has not been time to deal with it."

Other organizations have also reported having problems in Ukraine.

NGO Vaba Ukraina volunteer Andrus Rumm told AK a car had been sent to the country, intended for fighters on the front line, which ended up being "driven around Kyiv and eventually sold to third parties for their own profit." 


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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