Parnu mayor questioned on graft

  • 2008-11-28
  • TBT Staff in cooperation with BNS

The widening investigation has tainted the Parnu City Hall (Photo by Ave Maria Moistlik).

PARNU 's The seurity police have questioned the mayor of the Estonian city ofParnu in a widening scandal overpossible violations of public procurement tender rules for road service works.

The charges leveled against Parnu Mayor Mart Viisitamm carry a possiblesentence of one year in jail.

"Since there are grounds to believe that Mart Viisitamm may be linkedto the breach of requirements, questioning him as a witness had to be ruledout. In order to ensure his right to defense, he was questioned assuspect," spokespeople for the West district prosecutor's office said.

Prosecutors are to take the final decision as regards the form ofproceedings before the end of this year.

Deputy Mayor Simmo Saar is scheduled to appear before investigators on Dec.2 and is likely to be declared suspect too.

The prosecutor's office said the security police conducted searches in theoffices of the mayor and a deputy mayor of Parnu on Oct. 24 in connection witha criminal probe into the city's road maintenance tender.

Police suspect that officials of the city government tried to groundlesslycreate favorable terms and advantages for a company participating in the publicprocurement tender for the maintenance of Parnu roads and streets that was announcedin May.

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.

The winning bidder, Rapla Teed, is not involved in the probe.