Yana Toom MEP, who is the chairwoman of the Centre Party's Narva chapter, told ERR on Friday morning that she recognises the decision of Centre's leadership to suspend several party members on the city council currently under suspicion of corruption, but that she is planning to "talk to them."
"We've had a leadership vote. I respect the decision of the party's leadership, but I'll hold on to my statement that this isn't a case of corruption, but of stupidity," Toom said.
The Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) is suspecting Aleksei Voronov, Larissa Olenina, Ilja Fjodorov, Aleksei Mägi, and Tatjana Stolfat, all Centre Party members now facing expulsion, of a deliberate breach of procedural restrictions as outlined in the Anti-corruption Act.
According to the allegations, members of the Narva City Council did not remove themselves from votes connected to the transfer of city assets for free to companies connected to them, or to financing their companies.
Toom said that at this point "nothing sensible" could be expected from anyone, and said she is hoping that matters will quieten down soon so that a "constructive" discussion becomes possible.
She added that she will talk to the Narva chapter's leadership on Saturday.
The Centre Party's leadership decided on Friday to insist on the suspension of all of the suspects from their elected offices on the Narva City Council at least for the duration of the investigation.
Prime Mminister and Centre Party Chairman Jüri Ratas said earlier this week that there is "no room in the party" for corruption. Centre has a long and widely publicised history of graft and embezzlement cases.
Editor: Dario Cavegn