President wants ‘serious conversation’ with prime minister

PM Algirdas Butkevičius and President Dalia Grybauskaitė
DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

“The situation in the government has been complicated by the shadow of corruption. The president is looking forward to a serious conversation with the prime minister once he is back from holidays,” spokeswoman Daiva Ulbinaitė said on Wednesday.

Butkevičius is to come back from holidays next Tuesday, February 9.

The meeting’s agenda will likely include Healthcare Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė. Last week, she admitted to having offered a small bribe to a doctor a decade ago; she has also been questioned by the Special Investigation Service (STT) in a corruption investigation in Šiauliai hospital.

Šalaševičiūtė announced about her intentions to step down after she was criticized by the president, the prime minister and members of her party, the Social Democrats.

Another member of the cabinet that might cause problems is Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas. The STT said on Tuesday he would be questioned as a special witness in an investigation of construction in Druskininkai. Investigators suspect illegal influences behind a government decision to lift development restrictions that gave way to legalizing constructions in the territory of Druskininkai Vijūnėlė Manor.

Special witness status means that there is evidence about the person’s possible involvement in a crime, but not enough to bring suspicions. Prime Minister Butkevičius will also be interviewed by the STT, but as an ordinary witness.

On Tuesday, the Liberal Movement, an opposition party, hinted at possible corruption in the Ministry of Agriculture, led by Minister Virginija Baltraitienė of the Labour Party. According to the liberals, the ministry’s food for poor programme bought products at inflated prices from a company owned by the family of Viktor Uspaskich, founder of the Labour Party.

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