VILNIUS - Dainius Gaizauskas, chairman of the Seimas' Committee on National Security and Defense (NSGK), is seeking to bar the committee's members from making any public comments on the parliamentary investigation into MP Irina Rozova's alleged ties with Russia until the probe has been completed.
The Seimas has given NSGK the mandate of a special investigation commission to carry out the probe.
Gaizauskas says that under the law regulating parliamentary investigation commissions' activities, it is only the commission's chairperson or another authorized member that can make a public statement after each meeting of the commission, either in writing or verbally.
He proposed that the provision be included into the Rozova investigation commission's rules of procedure, but the plan met with resistance from opposition MPs.
At the opposition's initiative, it is provided for in the rules of procedure that the commission's chairperson, or another authorized member, only makes an official statement to the public.
Gaizauskas believes that the commission's communication with the general public should be limited to such official comments until the investigation has been completed.
"In my opinion, that (law) states it quite clearly that while an investigation is ongoing, there can be no opinions from commission members (...) and there can even be no discussions," he said during the commission's first meeting on Friday.
Opposition MPs are concerned that the chairman is trying to bar them from giving their opinion on the commission's work.
"There may be different points of view and each of may emphasize (...) different things and come to different conclusions after a meeting," Laurynas Kasciunas of the conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats said.
"If we are asked for our opinion after a meeting, we will have to right to express it," he added.
On Friday, NSGK launched its investigation into Rozova's ties with Russian diplomats and their possible national security implications, and into whether there are grounds to launch impeachment proceedings against the parliamentarian.
The investigation will also look into whether the information about Rozova's ties that the State Security Department (VSD) provided to Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, and some other MPs was properly used.
NSGK decided to initiate the parliamentary investigation into MP Rozova's allegedly concealed ties with Russian diplomats after its members got acquainted with the VSD report submitted to Pranckietis in January 2018.
In the report, the intelligence agency recommended that the lawmaker be denied access to classified information.
The report says that Rozova and Russian diplomats discussed financial support for her party, the Russian Alliance, and that she had contacts with Russian Consul General Vladimir Malygin who was sent out of Lithuania in 2014.
The lawmaker insists that her contacts with Russian diplomats were not personal and, therefore, she did not have to report them to VSD when applying for access to classified materials.
Rozova is a member of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance's political group in the Seimas.