Su, 14.08.2022
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Party finance watchdog bans convicted criminals from its meetings

Party finance watchdog bans convicted criminals from its meetings
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Priit Toobal
Priit Toobal Photo: Mihkel Maripuu / Postimees

Estonian Supervisory Committee on Party Financing on Wednesday adopted changes to the committee's rules of procedure according to which persons punished pursuant to criminal procedure would be banned from the committee's meetings.

Deputy chairman of the committee Kaarel Tarand told BNS that the committee on Wednesday at the last meeting of its current composition adopted two changes to the rules of procedure.

According to Tarand the committee decided that persons with an effective criminal punishment cannot take part in the committee's meetings. «Until the legislative body deals with the issue on its own, we adopted certain restrictions inside our body,» Tarand said. He added that the same restriction is also implemented in other bodies. «In supervision such a restriction is important,» Tarand said.

Tarand said that all eight members of the committee who took part in the meeting voted for the change, including the representative of the Center Party.

The other change approved by the committee is that people with a conflict of interests are not allowed to take part in the discussion of such items of the agenda that concern them. According to Tarand the restriction concerns, for instance, members of party boards and secretary generals of parties -- people who are in charge of party finances.

According to Tarand so far members of the committee followed good practice in such situations, but the committee decided to concretize the wording and added the requirement that in case of a conflict of interests, the committee member has to leave the room.

The opposition Center Party at the end of March appointed its secretary general Priit Toobal who has been sentenced for unauthorized surveillance and falsification of documents its representative in the Supervisory Committee on Party Financing.

Thereafter five parliamentary groups -- the Social Democratic Party (SDE), Reform Party, Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL), Free Party and the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) -- filed a bill which would prohibit persons punished for an intentionally committed criminal offense from sitting on the supervisory committee. It would also ban from the committee persons who have been barred from certain professions or activity in certain fields of life.