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Tartu's deputy mayor resigns

Nov 26, 2008
In cooperation with BNS

TARTU - One of the deputy mayors of Estonia's second-largest city of Tartuon Nov. 25 submitted his resignation to the mayor effective Dec. 4.

He reportedly does not want to give up his holding in a road maintenance company which performs work for the city government.

Anto Ili served as deputy mayor in 1993-1999 and again since 2001, spokespeople for the city government said.

To stem corruption, the mayor, Urmas Kruuse, ordered city officials with business interests to give up their holdings by Nov. 14 or ensure that companies in which they have interests do not conclude contracts with the city.

By the deadline, the mayor reached an agreement with most officials involved that their companies would not make deals with the city and they will step down from management bodies of the firms. Ili was the sole exception as he was vacationing in Finlandin November, so the mayor gave him a reprieve until Nov. 24 to make up his mind.

Ili, a member of the ruling Reform Party like the mayor, owns 12.6 percent of the road building and maintenance company Tref which is a cooperation partner of the city and has won the most municipal roadwork contracts. According to the daily Tartu Postimees, Tref has been awarded 145 contracts since 2003.

Ili had said in mid-November that he intended to quit the post of deputy mayor. In his words, Tref cannot be barred from participating in Tartu's road tenders. He also said he could not stay on as a member of the city government because his credibility has been questioned.

The vice-chairman of the parliamentary group of the oppositional Center Party, Ain Seppik, sent a letter earlier this month to the head of the security police, asking for an explanation regarding Ili's holding in the road building company and whether the security police intended to run a check on the Tartu city government.

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