The Estonian Internal Security Service on Tuesday morning lodged suspicions of service record fraud against head of the Tax and Customs Board's customs department Eerik Heldna and of aiding said fraud against director general of the Police and Border Guard Board Elmar Vaher.
According to the suspicions, at his request and with the participation of Vaher, in April 2019, Heldna was ostensibly registered as working at the Police and Border Guard Board and was transferred on the same day to the defense forces' structural unit, where he had actually been working for a year, spokespeople for the Prosecutor's Office told.
According to the suspicion, in May 2022 Heldna submitted a pension application to the Social Insurance Board seeking a superannuated pension for life. The application was granted by the Social Insurance Board. The pension application was based on documents reflecting, among other things, two years of pensionable police service created for Heldna. Without it, Heldna would not have met the 25-year requirement for pensionable police service and he would not have been entitled to lifelong superannuated pension.
The preliminary suspicion can change in the course of proceedings.
«It is humanly understandable that a person would want to receive a police pension, which is much larger than the old-age pension; however, the special pension is meant for the people whose contribution to their state equals the volume required for qualifying for the special pension,» state prosecutor Maria Entsik said.
«Abusing the system for personal gain is not acceptable in any case and deviating from the rules is not permitted even out of benevolence towards others. The rules apply to everyone in the same way and, according to the law, when signs of crime appear, we are obliged to check the circumstances that we have learned about in criminal proceedings. It is regrettable that we have to make such accusations against people whose job is to ensure good behavior and legality and who know due to their position which actions constitute as crime,» the state prosecutor added.
Interior minister suspends police chief Elmar Vaher
Estonian Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets has suspended director general of the Police and Border Guard Board Elmar Vaher who became the subject of a criminal investigation on Tuesday.
Läänemets signed a directive for initiating supervisory control in order to assess the legality of staff operations at the Police and Border Guard Board in the past five years.
The minister of the interior is suspending Vaher as police chief and appointing Egert Belitsev as acting director general of the Police and Border Guard Board.
The proceedings are conducted by officials of the Internal Security Service and led by the Office of the Prosecutor General.