Port of Tallinn politics: channeling cash

Ain Kaljurand ja Allan Kiil.

PHOTO: Jaanus Lensment / Toomas Huik / Postimees

Diving into the backwaters of Port of Tallinn corruption, Postimees hit information altogether scandalous: in details, we were explained how the enterprise has for years supported at least two government parties linked to its management with bags of banknotes.

The support system created over 15 years ago at the initiative of the previous Port of Tallinn management and which allegedly continued during Ain Kaljurand and Allan Kiil at helm – thus, just recently – was simple.

Regular «plastic bag» cash payments to political parties amounted to thousands of euros and ended up at disposal of secretary-generals of parties. The latter decided what to use the money for: to entertain guests, get coffee for office at headquarters etc.

Victim denies theft

As told to Postimees, such «donations» were received by at least two political parties currently seating members into the council of the state enterprise. They tell us of a peculiar incident when a member of a government party was careless enough to let somebody steal a donation of 50,000 kroons.

Though the politician had an idea who may have been the thief, he had nowhere to officially complain. Now, reminded by Postimees of the event years ago, the politician undertook to totally deny participation in the «plastic bag scheme».

Even so, as former member of Port of Tallinn council, he agreed with the view that events around the enterprise were conducive to such cash transactions. Rather, said he, mediators were found for that instead of council members.

As also suggested by former interior minister Margus Leivo who sat at Port of Tallinn some ten years ago, the arrested port managers might tell the investigators all kinds of interesting stuff.

«But I believe that their defence tactics will not taking pot shots at anybody, rather in protecting themselves. But I totally understand the expectations regarding questions as to who came to the port to get money in the plastic bags,» said Mr Leivo with two years at the port council under his belt.  

Let us make one thing clear – this is not investigation information linked to the current criminal procedure. True: would the arrested ex-managers Mr Kaljurand and Mr Kiil take the trouble, they could probably whip up a local political storm that would blow the Silver Meikar 2012 «Silvergate» right out of the water.

How? If they’d take the trouble to talk about how governmental parties were supported with cash for years on end. Doubtless, all parties would kick into top denial gear.

Somebody’s lying  

Postimees has no idea what might make Mr Kaljurand and Mr Kiil talk. Except for personal embitterment. And should either of them say something, would they have documental evidence to back it up? Or would it be word against word.

The information of Postimees about the cash circulation system comes from direct sources. The sources have been in immediate contact with the events and thus able to describe it in details. Though the comments by politicians underneath serve to show that nobody knows a thing, we have reason to believe, based on the sources, that at least one of them is lying.

As we vowed total anonymity to sources, Postimees cannot point out the person of the «liar». Doing so, links could be created leading to disclosure of the sources.  

Comments

Margus Leivo

Port of Tallinn council member in 2005–2007, then People’s Union

I really cannot say anything about any cash stuff there. There wasn’t even any pressure for that from the port. But I definitely would not claim that this may not have been the case with some individuals sitting at the council for a longer period of time. With cash transactions like this, its takes criminal trust as if by both parties involved.

During me being at the council, the large board of the port became smaller, and back then Kaljurand and Kiil seemed to be these young eager leaders trying to solve all former problems by tolerance. I believe they might indeed tell the investigators lots of interesting stuff, journalistically speaking this would be highly anticipated. But I believe that their defence tactics will not taking pot shots at anybody, rather in protecting themselves. But I totally understand the expectations regarding questions as to who came to the port to get money in the plastic bags.

Kalev Lillo

Port of Tallinn council member since 2006, Reform Party

I have nothing to say to these allegations. If there are sources, let them have recourse to prosecutor’s office then, instead of spreading rumours somewhere. I know nothing about this. I advise to address investigative bodies if there’s something to say.

Randel Länts

Port of Tallinn council member and Soc Dems secretary-general 2007–2009, again at the council starting 2014

I never even thought like this. There rather was no such thing, no-one applied pressure towards that. There have been all kinds of storied about various things, be it related to the port or other issues. This is exactly the same – somebody may easily cook it up. I know of no such things.

If you think about like somebody bringing something in an envelope, then there was nothing like that. At least not with me.

Toomas Vitsut

Port of Tallinn council member 2005–2007, Centre Party

One reason why Reform avoids coalition with Centre is they could not go solo anymore. I do not remember that during the last time we share a coalition with them and the responsibility at Port of Tallinn management, that their will had so dominated like we see today.

As the veteran Port of Tallinn chairman Neinar Seli said in his interview, back then Ain Kaljurand was prompt to discuss any step of his at the council, and there was no solo whatsoever. In a situation like that, all kinds of risks are lower. However, management of state enterprises is in obvious need of reforms, the postponement of which in the current coalition is not justified at all. Economy minister should bring out the reform plan by Erkki Raasuke and promptly carry it out.

Indrek Raudne

Port of Tallinn council member 2007–2011, then IRL

I am a private person now and do not desire to comment.

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