Eesti 200 MP Tarmo Tamm is to remain board member of the Environmental Investment Center (KIK), against the preferences of his party-mate Züleyxa Izmailova.
Tamm is reportedly the subject of two misdemeanor proceedings in relation to felling activity in the Lääne-Viru County village of Käsmu, and it was that, plus concerns over a potential conflict of interest, which led to the MP's stepping down from the post of Riigikogu environmental committee chair position last week.
Izmailova replaced Tamm as committee chair last week; Tamm maintains that he stepped down of his own volition, and when quizzed by ERR on whether he would remain on the KIK board, which again could lead to similar concerns as those surrounding his previous committee post, he answered "naturally."
Izmailova, a former Green party chair, however, says that the Eesti 200 parliamentary group should have discussed the issue at Monday's party meeting, though both she and party whip Marek Reinaas told ERR on Tuesday that the matter had not been on the agenda.
"The Eesti 200 group did not discuss this," Reinaas told ERR, with Izmailova concurring: "It is what it is now."
As to her concerns about Tamm's contiuing on the KIK board, Izmailova said: "We know what his background is. If he has received support for his business activities from KIK, as an entrepreneur, this could prove to be a problem."
Izmailova had voted against Tamm being on the KIK board, in a ballot held at environmental committee level, and told ERR that her opinion has not changed since then.
Reinaas disagreed, however, saying Tamm is a perfectly suitable KIK member, mainly due to his experience.
"It seems to me that the KIK board should have sitting on it people who have competence in both business and environmental protection," Reinaas said.
Reinaas added that he hd spoken with Izmailova and suggested there had been a misunderstanding last week. When asked if there was a quarrel on the issue within party ranks, he said: "There is no such quarrel."
"We have to act with what we have," Izmailova added.
Tamm had told daily Postimees last week that he sees no reason to leave the KIK board, in addition to no longer being environment committee chair.
In addition to the two misdemeanor proceedings lodged against him in respect of Käsmu timber felling, it has emerged that Tamm – whose second name is incidentally the Estonian word for an oak tree – is the subject of Environmental Board (Keskonnaamet) proceedings in relation to a floating sauna he had set up, within the boundaries of the Lahemaa national park, which surrounds Käsmu.
Whereas last Thursday, Eesti 200 leader and Riigikogu speaker Lauri Hussar told ERR the party would wait for the investigation's results before making a deciion on Tamm's future as environment committee chair, by Friday, that position had changed, and it was announced that Izmailova would be replacing him.
Founded in 2000, KIK mediates on both EU and domestic grants. It has financed more than 27,000 environmental projects to the tune of over €2.9 billion, in the 23 years of its operations.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mait Ots