UPDATE - Estonian Interior Minister Suspends Police Chief Over Loss Of Confidence

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UPDATE - Estonian Interior Minister Suspends Police Chief Over Loss of Confidence

TALLIN (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 16th August, 2019) Estonian Interior Minister Mart Helme said on Thursday that he had temporarily suspended Police and Border Guard board (PPA) Director Elmar Vaher over loss of confidence after the latter's statements on possible police job cuts.

On Wednesday, an internal PPA communication was leaked about possible upcoming budget cuts of up to six million Euros ($6.7 million) and ensuing closure of up to 150 job positions next year. Vaher has said that cutting the agency's budget to that extent would be impossible without cutting jobs.

"Per my order, disciplinary proceedings have been launched against Elmar Vaher, and his employment has been suspended from tomorrow on," Helme told to ERR broadcaster.

Helme accused Vaher of loss of confidence.

"As far as I understand, yesterday Elmar Vaher lied on tv that there would be police redundancies. There will be no redundancies, no wage cuts; on the contrary, the government has decided today to allocate millions to repairing the Rescue Board and police stations," Helme said, adding that Vaher has failed his task to figure out how spending could be decreased.

The PPA spokesperson said they had no further information on the matter and that the agency itself has learned the news on media.

Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said later in the day that he had been confident in Vaher as the PPA director.

"In May 2018, my government approved Elmar Vaher as the director-general of the Police and Border Guard Department for a new term. I told media back in then that I trusted Mr. Vaher as the director-general and that I was not looking for a new chief of police. I still stand by that," Ratas wrote on Facebook.

The prime minister noted that 90 percent of Estonian citizens trusted the national police.

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