Indrek Särg, chairman of the Tartu section of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) and the party's mayoral candidate in the recent elections, said that Reform Party member and Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas should consider resigning after the corruption scandal involving two Tartu deputy mayors.
"Already last year the Internal Security Service removed Social Democrat and deputy mayor Kajar Lember from office. Urmas Klaas then promised that internal controls will be improved. Unfortunately now another two deputy mayors were detained on suspicions of corruption. This clearly shows the flawed choice of staff and lack of internal controls in the city government. Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas is personally responsible for both areas,” Särg was quoted in a press release on Friday.
"The reputation of the city of Tartu has been significantly damaged, as the Tartu city government is now associated with dubious affairs of the kind that until now were characteristic of Ida-Viru County or the Russian Federation, rather. The Estonian Conservative People's Party is reminding the Reform Party, the Center Party, and the Social Democrats that Tartu is not Tambov, and the Republic of Estonia is not the Russian Federation," Särg said.
Officials of the Internal Security Service (ISS) on Wednesday morning arrested Tartu Deputy Mayor Valvo Semilarski, member of the Reform Party, and Deputy Mayor Artjom Suvorov, of the Center Party, as suspects in multiple corruption offenses.
Suvorov is suspected of having allocated public money to different organizations in exchange for bribes. Semilarski is suspected of large-scale involvement in decisions where he stood to profit personally. Large-scale in this context means that the sum involved amounts to at least €400,000.
One of the businessmen who were arrested is suspected of having bribed Semilarski, the Internal Security Service (ISS/Kapo) said on Wednesday. The sum of the bribe was not made public.
Work on the case continues, though they are not interconnected, authorities said. Both Suvorov and Semilarski submitted their resignation to Tartu mayor Urmas Klaas on Thursday afternoon.
Editor: Dario Cavegn
Source: BNS, ERR