Finmin removes soc dem state lottery chairman

Erakondade rahastamise järelevalve komisjoni esimees Ardo Ojasalu.

PHOTO: Peeter Langovits / Postimees

Yesterday, Minister of Finance Jürgen Ligi signed off removal of social democrat Ardo Ojasalu from being chairman of Eesti Loto.

«I have kept Ardo Ojasalu in office for four years, never making an issue of him belonging to the ranks of the Social Democrats; however, due to the problems amassed around his person lately, this cannot continue,» the minister told Postimees.

The latest of the problems being Mr Ojasalu being awarded, by his party comrades and without a competition, the order for sales of VEB Fund certificates organised by the state. Lately, it surfaced that he has received, during the loan crisis, cheap loans from a former state company subsidiary Eesti Elektronpost – again as decided by party buddies and without the knowledge of council of bookkeeper, added the minister.

«Ojasalu’s public comments show that he is unable, retrospectively, to assess the ethics of such deeds. The one doing him a favour, has thereafter transferred a large donation to their common party, despite going personally broke. There has been no reaction to that by Mr Ojasalu, even though he is presiding over the party financing supervisory committee,» said Mr Ligi.

Ardo Ojasalu said he respected the general meeting decision and noted that the company’s owner had the right to choose who would represent his interests. «I have done my job in both, in the Eesti Loto council and the party financing supervision committee, keeping these totally separate and not deeming it necessary to link them together,» explained he.

Mr Ojasalu added that he had never, while in the council, worked for any definite finance minister, but has rather desired the company to do well, making the best possible profits and be well managed. «Working towards that goal may as well be entrusted to somebody else,» he commented.

The council of Eesti Loto – governed by the Ministry of Finance – includes Sören Meius, Margus Hanson, Lauri Vahtre, Heino Harak and Tiit Kirsipuu. Pursuant to Eesti Loto statutes, the council is to be composed of up to six members.