Sa, 2.12.2023

Estonian parlt strips EKRE MP Kert Kingo of immunity

Estonian parlt strips EKRE MP Kert Kingo of immunity.
Estonian parlt strips EKRE MP Kert Kingo of immunity. Photo: Sander Ilvest

The Estonian parliament on the proposal of Chancellor of Justice Ulle Madise stripped Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) MP Kert Kingo of immunity on Monday.

Altogether 66 MPs voted in favor of the proposal, while 13 were against it.

Madise made the proposal to the Riigikogu already in August.

Introducing the prosecutor general's request, Madise said that, according to the suspicion, Kert Kingo took on the legal expenses of third parties and gave written instructions to her lawyer to write on the invoices that it was the legal assistance provided to her in connection with the work of a member of the Riigikogu, so that they would be paid for from the expense reimbursements.

Madise added that the file states that the lawyer actually advised other persons in court proceedings and did not provide such legal assistance related to the work of a Riigikogu member.

«When the board of the Riigikogu specified the procedure for reimbursing expenses related to the work of a member of the Riigikogu, these written instructions -- to write false information on the invoice -- were accompanied by requests to write down the numbers of certain bills,» the chancellor of justice added.

The chancellor of justice noted that no such circumstances emerged when examining the materials of the criminal case that would have allowed her not to forward the prosecutor general's request to the Riigikogu.

«The admissibility of evidence and guilt can only be decided by a court. The submission of this request and proposal, as well as the possible removal of parliamentary immunity, does not mean that Kert Kingo is guilty of these crimes. Only the court administers justice, and if the guilt is not proven, then the person is acquitted,» Madise said.

Kingo said that the criminal proceedings initiated against her are revenge for her having dared to criticize Chief State Prosecutor Taavi Pern.

«Expense reimbursements have always been dealt with only by the Riigikogu office and according to certain rules. For more than 30 years, such rules have been in effect, that if it turns out that some expenses do not qualify for expense reimbursements and have been paid out incorrectly, the MP simply pays the money back to the Chancellery of the Riigikogu and the matter is finished. This has been the case with all the hundreds of MPs who have ever sat in this hall and are still sitting here now. If any of the MPs claims otherwise, they are simply lying. Brazenly. The Chancellery of the Riigikogu has not asked me for the money back and therefore has not found that I have done anything wrong. And it has not been done to date. But you see, a criminal procedure was thrown together at the prosecutor's office for me,» Kingo said.

According to her, the chancellor of justice has said in the media that it is up to the chancellor of justice to see whether the matter is obviously unfounded and obviously politically biased and stated that such indications were not found in the file.

«If the chancellor of justice does not want to see that the same rules have applied to everyone else, they have been treated the same, and a special rule applies only to Kert Kingo, a member of the Estonian Conservative People's Party, and she is treated differently from others, that is, she is treated unequally compared to others, then there is a feeling that the institution of the chancellor of justice is politically biased instead,» Kingo said.

According to her, she is not sure whether Ulle Madise even bothered to familiarize herself with the expense reimbursement rules that have been in force until now and the practice so far, even though she should have based her decision primarily on this.

«I am leaning towards thinking that she did not care about this. This says one thing: she has been neither objective nor independent. In addition, a moment ago, the chancellor of justice was in here, bumbling about and distorting the actual circumstances, at least the circumstances that I am aware of,» Kingo said.

In September 2022, the Office of the Prosecutor General brought a suspicion against EKRE MP Kert Kingo of engaging in fraud and using a forged document. Spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor General Kairi Kungas said back then that the Office of the Prosecutor General has brought suspicions against MP Kert Kingo and attorney-at-law Martin Traat.

Kingo is suspected under the section of the Penal Code concerning fraud committed by an official. Under another section, Kingo is suspected of using a counterfeit document, seal or blank document form with the intention to obtain rights or release from obligations. Information available to Postimees indicates that, according to the suspicion, Kingo used her expense reimbursements to pay for the legal aid bills of several people in the extent of approximately 10,000 euros.

Attorney-at-law Martin Traat is also suspected of fraud as well as aiding. An aider is a person who intentionally provides physical, material or moral assistance to an intentional unlawful act of another person. Additionally, he is suspected of counterfeiting a document, seal or blank document form.