Ethics Commission to decide whether to open investigation into Education Minister’s trip

Audronė Pitrėnienė
DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

The main controversy surrounds Pitrėnas, the minister’s husband, being listed as an official of the department on the trip and whether he paid for his portion of the cost of the accommodation for the visit.

Pitrėnienė’s husband was listed as an official of the Ministry of Education and Science and flew to London together with the official Lithuanian Ministry of Education delegation.

The minister’s husband works at the Pranciškus Žadeikis Gymnasium in the town of Skuodas, the education institution which was headed by the Education Minister herself before she was elected to the parliament.

Minister Audronė Pitrėnienė’s spokeswoman Daiva Šalc said earlier in the week that “the minister’s spouse is an IT specialist and works in an education institution, thus he travelled to London not as a tourist but as a man who takes interest in IT innovations in education. The visit took place during his holidays”.

The Ministry said that Pitrėnienė’s husband paid for his own accommodation, but according to investigations by DELFI, he only paid a supplement of £10 a night (around €13) to share a room with his wife when the full price of the room was €231 a night.

Chairman of the Labour Party, Valentine Mazuronis, has said he saw nothing wrong with a spouse accompanying a minister on an official trip. He said if it were a personal visit, it would be different, but he said Pitrėnienė’s husband had participated and accompanied the minister on all of her official activities during the visit.

Seimas Speaker Loreta Graužinienė, of the Labour Party, said on Wednesday she did not think the minister had broken any laws.

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