Environment and agriculture ministers’ jobs under threat if caught lying to PM

PM Algirdas Butkevičius and President Dalia Grybauskaitė
DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas has been questioned as a “special witness” in the Special Investigation Service‘s probe into construction fraud in Druskininkai. Meanwhile the Ministry of Agriculture, headed by Minister Virginija Baltraitienė, is under investigation for suspected fraud in its food-for-poor programme.

“I have told the president that I have presented my enquiries to both the minister of agriculture and environment that they partially responded to. […] They have presented their answers and explanations and now we are waiting for final investigations from law enforcement institutions,” PM Butkevičius told reporters.

“I suggest we wait several more days and if the information that the ministers have supplied me with proves to be inaccurate, I will seriously evaluate their performance,” he added.

President Dalia Grybauskaitė has suggested that the government might collapse due to the ministers suspected of corruption. “The government’s prospects of continuing work until the end of the term depends directly on the ability of persons allegedly involved in shady processes to accept political responsibility,” she said several weeks ago.

Environment Minister Trečiokas has been questioned about a government decree which lifted zoning restrictions in the resort town of Druskininkai; prosecutors suspect that the decision was tailored to legalize construction linked to the town’s mayor Ričardas Malinauskas. Trečiokas’ status as a “special witness” in the investigation might mean that he is suspected of involvement in the scheme.

The Ministry of Environment has been under investigation following revelations that one of its agencies over-paid for products in its food-for-poor programme. The agency’s head and one of Minister Baltraitienė’s deputies have lost their jobs as a result.

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