Lithuania’s chief of defence asked to explain costly purchase

Jonas Vytautas Žukas
DELFI / Domantas Pipas

“Instead of earmarking the money for higher pensions and wages, we have been raising defence spending over the past years, as it seemed a much needed and crucial decision at the time. However, the army’s decision to overpay for kitchen utensils eight times seems unfair with regard to our people,” the group’s leader MP Kęstutis Daukšys says.

Asked why the Labour Party MPs want to summon the chief of defence rather than Defence Minister Juozas Olekas, Daukšys explained that the acquisition had been organized by the Armed Forces.

“We will summon the minister, as well, if necessary,” he added.

On Tuesday, Lithuania’s Public Procurement Service said the Armed Forces had bought various types of kitchen utensils at a price that was eight times above the market price from Nota Bene company.

The kitchen utensils were purchased in the framework of a preliminary contract of about €1.6 million with Nota Bene company. The sum was nearly double the planned amount of €724,000.

In response to the reports, President Dalia Grybauskaitė said that laws “do not stipulate a possibility to steal”, calling for Olekas to take responsibility for the deals.

Meanwhile, Olekas said the utensils were still in a warehouse until possible corruption suspicions were examined. In his words, the Defence Ministry turned to prosecutors with a request to conduct a probe, which was started but later dropped.

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