Procedural restrictions violation clauses could be amended

President Karis met with with the new Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition's ministerial candidates at Kadriorg on Tuesday. April 11, 2023.
President Karis met with with the new Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition's ministerial candidates at Kadriorg on Tuesday. April 11, 2023. Source: Raigo Pajula/Office of the President

Justice Minister Kalle Laanet (Reform) said the Ministry of Justice is looking into ways to clarify the provisions of the Anti-Corruption Act regarding the procedural restrictions violation.

Anti-Corruption Act offers a very broad definition of procedural restrictions violations.

"We are working to improve and clarify the act so that its interpretations are consistent and its applicability is clear — in short, so that it is easily understood," Laanet told ERR on Monday.

"I admit that there are some issues with the law's formulation, but I would not say it is completely wrong," he continued.

According to the minister, the issue has been on the agenda for a while but has stalled thus far.

A change in the law would also affect pending cases, according to the minister of justice.

Laanet explained that it is crucial to consider the entire Act when amending it, as modifying a few paragraphs or principles may have far-reaching consequences.

High-level officials and politicians are often prosecuted and, in some instances, convicted for violations of conduct. Simultaneously, the court has repeatedly withdrawn charges against defendants and acquitted them.

The most recent high-profile case happened this spring, when Priit Humal, the vice mayor of Tartu, resigned in May after being suspected of violating procedural restrictions at the defense police.

In December of last year, a court absolved Kajar Lember, the former deputy mayor of Tartu who was accused of a serious violation of procedural restrictions. However, the prosecutor's office contested the court's decision.

Former Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform) was also suspected of violating a restriction on the conduct of his duties, but the Public Prosecutor's Office determined that the minister did not supervise the nomination of her own candidacy for the European Court of Auditors and thus did not commit a particularly serious violation of a restriction on the conduct of her duties.

Former finance minister's adviser Kersti Kracht, along with businessman Hillar Teder and two others, is accused of multiple corruption offenses, including a particularly serious violation of the scope restriction.

In June 2021, the Harju County Court convicted Urmas Arumäe, a former advisor to the minister of rural affairs, of knowingly violating the Anti-Corruption Act's act limitation provisions to a particularly serious degree.

Neinar Seli, a business magnate and former president of the Estonian Olympic Committee (EOC), was found guilty of violating the Anti-Corruption Act by the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court in 2015. His case is one of the most prominent examples of a breach of limits of procedural restrictions to a large degree. Seli, who was both chair of the Tallinn Port board and president of the EOC, voted in favor of the decision to pay a €250,000 subsidy to the Olympic Committee at a meeting of the Tallinn Port board on October 31, 2013.


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Editor: Mait Ots, Kristina Kersa

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