State auditors finds widespread corruption in local municipalities

State Audit Office (SAO) says that all 15 local governments that it randomly audited had made potentially corrupt transactions with companies linked to local government members.

According to an audit made by SAO, leaders and officials of Estonian local municipalities are indifferent towards the issue of corruption, reports The Baltic Course with reference to Estonian media.

The audit indicates that in nearly a half of the 15 local municipalities that were audited, parish heads or officials had violated the ban on conducting transactions with companies that are connected to them.

In every third municipality audited, some official had violated the ban on having other businesses on the side. In every two municipalities out of three, the regulations on avoiding a conflict of interests was violated.

All 15 municipalities had conducted transactions with institutions, to which members of the parish government or council were connected to.

The leaders of Vinni parish and Jõgeva county, that were in the list of randomly selected municipalities, faced even a police investigation thanks to the audit. The Vinni parish elder Toomas Väinaste had paid his own company for cleaning the parish roads of snow; he had invited his own firm to participate in the procurement and declared himself the winner. Since the sum of money involved was rather small, the criminal case was ended though. Jõgeva county’s former county governor Saima Kalev ordered design work and office supplies from her own company. She was fined with 4,500 kroons for a misdemeanour.