Paper: MPs eerily quiet when own privileges, interests involved

Keit Pentus-Rosimannus.
Keit Pentus-Rosimannus. Source: (ERR/Hanna Samoson)

While there has been a lot of noise in the Riigikogu on matters like income tax, excise duties, the VEB Fund, and no-confidence motions against ministers Kadri Simson (Center) and Urmas Reinsalu (IRL), MPs have been eerily quiet regarding the latest development in the Autorollo bancruptcy case involving MP and former Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform), daily Päevaleht wrote in its Monday editorial.

In her rejection of the court's subpoena of correspondence between her and her husband, Rain Rosimannus, Pentus-Rosimannus has pointed to § 43 of the Constitution, which states that "Everyone has the right to confidentiality of messages sent or received by him or her by post, telegraph, telephone or other commonly used means."

Though there is no ruling on whether or not this argument has any legal standing in this particular case, the Supreme Court did decide in another case in 2014 that § 43 can only be applied to messages in transit, meaning that there is a clear difference between the surveillance of messages, and ordering that messages be handed to a court that have already been received.

Pentus-Rosimannus can't fall back on parliamentary immunity either, as MPs' correspondence isn't covered by the general guarantees of immunity under § 76 of the Constitution, as per a ruling of the Supreme Court in 2015.

Harju County Court has offered Pentus-Rosimannus the chance to voluntarily hand over the correspondence in question, which so far she hasn't done. As Päevaleht wrote, the Reform Party MP's current behavior only serves to deepen the suspicions that she has something to hide.

The paper also called it "an interesting coincidence" that Secretary General of the Riigikogu Maria Alajõe, who left this position on Aug. 14 last year, issued a directive to limit the time MPs' emails are kept on the servers of the Chancellery of the Riigikogu right before she left her job (ERR News reported).

Harju County Court issued a subpoena demanding that the Chancellery of the Riigikogu hand over some of the couple's correspondence during their time as members of parliament.

Following the court's order in 2016, Alajõe first submitted an objection, and later, while the court was deliberating it, issued a directive that effectively limited the timespan MPs' emails are kept to a year, effectively creating circumstances favorable to the destruction of the evidence as demanded by the court. The directive entered into effect before the court overruled the chancellery's objection.

Päevaleht commented on the silence the matter concerning Pentus-Rosimannus' correspondence is met with by MPs. "The case shows that the different parliamentary groups in the Riigikogu find it too easy to agree on a common course when it's about a precedent or a law change that directly affects their rights, interests, or income," the paper wrote (link in Estonian).

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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