Belitšev: Central Criminal Police, PPA officials involved in fraud case

Egert Belitšev, acting director general of the PPA. March 22, 2023.
Egert Belitšev, acting director general of the PPA. March 22, 2023. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Senior members of the Central Criminal Police and Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) are also involved in an ongoing suspected fraud case, acting PPA Director General Egert Belitšev said on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Belitšev said Central Criminal Police Director General Aivar Alavere, PPA Internal Control Office director Priit Pärkna and Central Criminal Police Operations Office director Toomas Lõhmus are among the officials suspected of involvement.

"I am very sorry that such doubts have arisen and it is certainly a big blow to the organization. It is important to now get to the truth and at the same time to ensure business as usual," Belitšev said.

In addition to Vaher, five officials from the PPA are involved in the case, he said.

On Tuesday morning, Eerik Heldna, director of the Customs Department of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board, and PPA Director General Elmar Vaher were detained on suspicions of fraud and aiding fraud, respectively, brought by the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS).

Heldna is suspected of seeking a lifetime superannuated pension based on faulty documents which relate to working in different agencies on rotation allowing him to meet the 25-year service requirement.

Belitšev said rotating police officers to other agencies is standard practice and almost 50 PPA employees have been sent to work elsewhere.

He said the PPA is fully cooperating with the ISS and the Prosecutor's Office.

The Ministry of the Interior is looking into staff rotations and the PPA will internally review all current rotations and assess whether they are reasonable, Belitšev said.


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Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright

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