Estonia: Rainer Vakra to take over as deputy chair of SDE after Lember

  • 2016-05-27

Rainer Vakra is set to take over as deputy chairman of the Estonian Social Democratic Party (SDE) after the resignation of Kajar Lember, former deputy mayor of Tartu suspected of corruption, Postimees said.

Lember told Postimees on Thursday he has decided to quit the party and all public positions so that the investigation has the smallest possible impact on third parties, including SDE. He also said that to his own knowledge he has acted in accordance with law both in business and politics and will definitely work closely with the prosecuting authorities so that the investigation is completed as quickly as possible.

SDE secretary general Inara Luigas said Lember has filed a request to leave the position of deputy chairman of SDE and the party. It appears from the commercial register that Lember quit the party on Thursday.

According to the statutes of SDE, the position left vacant by a party member elected to that position by a general party meeting is taken up by a substitute member appointed by the party's electoral work group on the basis of the election vote score.

Postimees also said that since 2013, Lember has donated 37,425 euros to the party and paid more than 1,000 euros in membership fees.

The police on Tuesday detained Lember, deputy mayor of Tartu responsible for finance and enterprise, for alleged repeated bribe-taking and EU funding related fraud in the amount of more than 850,000 euros. Lember was released on Wednesday evening.

According to suspicions, the deputy mayor acted not in the interest of the city but in his own interest and in the interest of the bribe-giver, who was also detained as a suspect on Tuesday. As part of the same investigation premises of the Tartu city government were searched on Tuesday.