On Monday, Estonian Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise is set to make a proposal to the Riigikogu for the withdrawal of EKRE MP Kert Kingo's parliamentary immunity and the continuation of legal proceedings against her. Kingo herself will also make her own presentation before the Riigikogu regarding the matter.
Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise has previously stressed that Kingo, who is suspected of improper use of expense allowances, should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
"According to the constitution, the permission of the Riigikogu must be obtained in order for legal proceedings against a Riigikogu member to continue. The Prosecutor's Office has now made such a referral to the Chancellor of Justice, and has also sent the evidence collected. It is now my task to ask the Riigikogu for the opportunity to make a report and to ask for Kingo's parliamentary immunity to be withdrawn. This proposal has already been forwarded to the Riigikogu," explained Madise.
Madise added that it is important to underline that the presumption of innocence applies in Estonia.
"Neither the sending of such a proposal to the Riigikogu, nor the possible decision of the Riigikogu to revoke the immunity of a Member of Parliament - and the Riigikogu has previously revoked the immunity of MPs in such cases - mean that the person is guilty. The assessment of the evidence and [attribution of] guilt is always a matter for the court. It is the role of the Chancellor of Justice to determine whether a case is manifestly unfounded and manifestly politically motivated. And we really have not found any such indications in this case," Madise said.
If the Riigikogu gives its approval to remove Kingo's parliamentary immunity, the case will go to court. An MP who is deprived of parliamentary immunity remains a member of the Riigikogu.
Last September, Kert Kingo and lawyer Martin Traat were charged with criminal offences related to the use of a Riigikogu MP's expenses allowance. According to the allegations, Kingo used her own personal allowances to pay a total of almost €10,000 in legal fees for three separate people. In spring this year, Kingo was elected to the Riigikogu after winning 3,095 votes.
Editor: Michael Cole