Police search Parnu Mayor's office

  • 2008-10-24
  • TBT Staff in cooperation with BNS

Police searched through Town Hall offices in a widening corruption investigation. (Photo by Ave Maria Mõistlik)

PARNU 's Estonian Security Police have searched the officesof the mayor and deputy mayor of Parnu as part of a widening investigation intopossible corruption surrounding the city's road maintenance tender.

"The proceeding was opened to look into suspicions that officials ofthe Parnu city government tried to groundlessly create favorable terms andadvantages for a company participating in the public procurement tender for themaintenance of Parnu roads and streets that was announced in May,"spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office Kulli Kivioja told the Baltic NewsService.  

Even though the company did not win the tender, it is suspected thatofficials bended the public procurement rules in order to ensure the bid of thepreferred company succeeded, she added.

The Parnu unit of the security police and the prosecutor's office launchedcriminal proceedings on the basis of the Penal Code article dealing with breachof public procurement rules conviction for which carries a jail sentence of upto one year.

"In connection with this, searches are being conducted at the Parnucity government on Friday. Nobody has been interrogated and formal suspicionshave not been brought against anybody," Kivioja added.

The chairman of the city council, Ahti Koo, said that as far as he knowsinvestigative bodies have not previously shown interest in Parnu procurementtenders.

Koo said he was sincerely glad that a new company was finally looking afterroads and streets of Parnu. In his words, Baltifalt, which had won all tendersin previous years, did a very poor job and city roads were falling into a stateof disrepair.

"I've been trying for the last three years to establish why the serviceprovided by Baltifalt was below standard," he said.

Baltifalt itself reportedly not being investigated alongside the cityofficials.

The security police started a search of the offices of Parnu Mayor MartViisitamm and Deputy Mayor Simmo Saar early Friday morning.