Prosecutor's office not launching criminal proceedings against Estonian education minister

  • 2022-05-24
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The Office of the Prosecutor General did not launch criminal proceedings into Estonian Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna not holding a public procurement for the acquisition of COVID-19 rapid tests for schools because her actions lacked the elements of a criminal offense.

"According to the law, criminal proceedings must be launched if facts referring to a criminal offense are revealed. We cannot launch proceedings if no such facts are revealed. We also cannot launch criminal proceedings to look for any elements of crime," spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor General Kairi Kungas told BNS.

The information sent to judicial authorities does not reveal a basis for launching criminal proceedings, thus, the prosecutor's office has decided not to launch them.

Members of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) group in the Riigikogu on May 12 submitted an application to the prosecutor's office and the Internal Security Service (ISS) for criminal proceedings to be initiated against Kersna over her handling of the purchase of COVID-19 rapid tests for schools.

The MPs from the largest opposition party point out that in October 2021, Kersna signed a contract with OU SelfDiagnostics in the amount of 5.1 million euros for the supply of rapid tests to be used in schools, without carrying out a public procurement procedure required under law, and thereby gave OU SelfDiagnostics an advantage in concluding the procurement contract. 

"In November 2021, Kersna signed a framework agreement with OU Medesto Logistics for the procurement of rapid tests for schools in the amount of 2.3 million euros, again failing to organize the public procurement procedure required by law and thus giving OU Medesto Logistics an advantage in concluding the procurement contract," the EKRE MPs said in their application.

In January 2022, Kersna amended the framework agreement concluded with OU Medesto Logistics by ordering additional rapid tests from OU Medesto Logistics for a total amount of 1.2 million euros, in breach of the requirements of the framework contract. 

In total, Kersna concluded procurement contracts in the amount of more than 8.7 million euros without organizing a public procurement procedure in accordance with the law, meaning in violation of the requirements of the public procurement procedure, the application says.