Supervisory proceedings confirm fictitious employment of police officers

BNS
Copy
Former director general of the Police and Border Guard Board Elmar Vaher and head of the Tax and Customs Board's customs department Eerik Heldna.
Former director general of the Police and Border Guard Board Elmar Vaher and head of the Tax and Customs Board's customs department Eerik Heldna. Illustration: Madis Veltman

Supervisory control proceedings carried out by the Ministry of the Interior regarding the personnel procedures of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and the Internal Security Service (ISS) confirmed the service registration and rotation of five police officers at the PPA, which created opportunities to apply for a superannuated pension, even though they did not start performing the duties of police officers and continued to work in their former workplace.

No similar cases were found at the ISS, but three cases of premature termination of rotation were identified so that the person could formalize a superannuated pension while working for the security authority, spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior said.

Tarmo Olgo, head of the internal audit department of the Ministry of the Interior, said that during the supervisory proceedings carried out at the PPA, differences were found in the case of five officials compared to other rotators, which lead to the conclusion that their recruitment was fictitious.

«I stress that what was fictitious was their registration of service at the PPA, not the rotation itself. There is an important difference here, because no one is disputing whether these people were rotated elsewhere, obviously they were, and from day one. What is questionable is the need for the registration of their service at the PPA in a situation where they actually continued their work at another institution exactly as before their registration at the PPA. During the supervision, no proof was found that their registration to work at the PPA would have promoted inter-agency cooperation or increased the employee's competence. People who worked at another institution continued to work there and the connection with the PPA was merely formalizing in nature,» Olgo said.

According to him, the ministry will initiate a law amendment so that a person rotated from the ISS should not have to return to work at the ISS upon completion of the pension qualifying period only to formalize the pension.

«In the course of supervisory proceedings, we checked the personnel documents of both the PPA and the ISS in the period 2018-2023 and interviewed the officials and related parties professionally involved in the formalization of the personnel documents. It became clear that the rotation is not sufficiently transparently organized in the administrative area and the principles of the rotation have not been established in writing,» Olgo said.

According to Interior Minister Lauri Laanemets, rotation in state offices is a good opportunity for the development of employees and increases the cooperation and exchange of information between the offices.

«So, to begin with, I would like to confirm that the rotation system as such is necessary and will be preserved. However, based on the supervisory control report, I have already tasked the Ministry of the Interior, in cooperation with the authorities of the administrative area, to develop the principles for the temporary transfer of officials and to initiate the necessary law amendments to create legal clarity. Also, the PPA must end the rotations of two persons registered as in police service, who are currently still in service but whose recruitment purposes are not clearly justified,» Laanemets said.

Supervisory control proceeding regarding the legality of PPA and ISS personnel operations since 2018 were initiated with a directive of Minister of the Interior Lauri Laanemets on March 21 and their implementation was led by the head of the internal audit department of the Ministry of the Interior.

Estonian interior minister suspended police chief Elmar Vaher

Estonian Minister of the Interior Lauri Laanemets has suspended director general of the Police and Border Guard Board Elmar Vaher who became the subject of a criminal investigation on March 21.

Laanemets 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 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 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 in order to meet the prerequisite of 25 years of pensionable police service, which Heldna needs to receive a police pension.

The preliminary suspicion can change in the course of proceedings. The proceedings are being conducted by officials of the Internal Security Service and led by the Office of the Prosecutor General.

Top