Estonian interior minister promising to dismiss natl police chief in any case

  • 2019-08-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonian Interior Minister Mart Helme said in an interview with the daily Postimees that he will in any case terminate the employment of Elmar Vaher, director general of the Police and Border Guard Board.

"Yes, 'is terminating' is correct, rather. Because I slightly overestimated, especially while on vacation, the speed of bureaucratic processes. Diligent officials are currently working to draw together a legally sound document and how quickly it will come -- either during my vacation or once I return to work next Wednesday -- I cannot say. In any case, it will come, that much is clear," Helme said.

According to the minister, there are a number of reasons for it. "One thing, of course, is that we can have no trusting cooperation after he essentially stabbed me in the back. It is especially insolent to lie to my face as if I had given him some kind of orders regarding lay-offs of police officers. This is a special kind of insolence! To lie about something like that in my face, someone who knows what has actually happened," he added.

"I also met him a few days ago in the ministry. The reason is very simple. Essentially, Elmar Vaher launched an information operation because, at our last meeting, we had a considerably heated debate on the internal defense reserve, the reorganization of the border guard, the management system of their structure. Here we also have -- let us say -- matters concerning the state secret. And now he has decided to drown all these things by spreading information to the media as though the government is demanding the abolition of 150 jobs," Helme said.

"Essentially -- what is Elmar Vaher doing? Working against the government, working against the interior minister, not fulfilling what has been agreed upon in the coalition agreement. He explicitly told one of my advisers that he is not interested in what has been written in the coalition agreement, he is not planning to fulfill it. When we take all these circumstances into consideration, I should then be mum and quiet and accept it and say that 'no, Elmar Vaher is a nice man'?! Look, I am not that kind of a person. Is the ministry led by Interior Minister Mart Helme or are the ministry and government led by Elmar Vaher? Now this is a very fundamental kind of question, and I am nevertheless of the opinion that, when I went to government, I received the votes of about 10,000 people in the elections, which Elmar Vaher has not received," Helme said.

"The government has established an employment relationship with Elmar Vaher and the government can also terminate that employment. But, of course, I must convince all government members of that enough," Helme added.