While much attention has focused on the use of the Riigikogu fuel card benefit by opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) MP Kalle Grünthal, he is not the only member of the Riigikogu to have come under scrutiny.
News portal Delfi has also investigated the use by Eesti 200 MP Juku-Kalle Raid of the fuel card on two occasions in August – despite the fact that Raid reportedly lacks a drivers' license.
Raid did however cooperate with the media in giving an explanation, saying that the usage of the fuel card related to his work as an MP, was the first time he had taken advantage of the perk – given to all MPs – while he himself did not do the driving, but instead and acquaintance did so, the owner of the vehicle in fact.
The trip itself related to a visit to Estonia of the special representative of the Dalai Lama, relevant to Raid as he is chair of the parliamentary Tibet support group, while the use was noted in the official expenses allowances – and totaled €114.
This was across two trips, on August 5 and 7, covering a total of 72 liters of fuel.
Raid added that he tries to avoid using expenses in this way, but did this time since the visit was particularly significant and there was no alternative – the representative was in fact picked up from Riga, where they flew into, and also taken to Seto Kingdom Day, in the far Southeast of Estonia; a meeting with party leader and Riigikogu Speaker Lauri Hussar was also arranged.
Raid, who became an MP for the first time after the March elections, at least gave an account of the use of the fuel card when asked.
As reported by ERR News, criminal proceedings were recently initiated, though no charges have been brought, following media reports that EKRE MP Kalle Grünthal has been purchasing an "incomprehensible" volume of fuel (put at over 3,000 liters so far) on the taxpayer's tab, ie. via the Riigikogu fuel card.
Question marks had also former Center MP Martin Repinski, who hit the headlines when he was engaging in some out-of-hours taxi-driving work.
In both cases, neither MP seemed to think that the questions were worth their effort to answer. Grünthal recently said that he did not want to elaborate on the matter and did not understand the allegation of misappropriation.
Another former EKRE MP, Urmas Reitelman, reportedly topped up a total of 243 liters of diesel using the Riigikogu fuel card just hours before his powers as an MP ceased after failing to win a seat at the March 5 election, calling an Õhtuleht journalist who quizzed them on this an "idiot" and instructing them to kiss an area of his anatomy not many people are likely to want to venture anywhere near to.
Editor: Andrew Whyte