Corruption scheme of the Food and Veterinary Service: bribes demanded for at least a year, threatened to stop the activities of companies | Business

Accusations of corruption have been brought against four persons: the head of VMVT Mantas Staškevičius, the head of the institution’s Veterinary Medicines and Fodder Department Sigitas Siriukaičius, the director of the Šiauliai Department Arūnas Teišerskis and another former employee of the institution, the head of the Research Department of the Kaunas Department, who was no longer working at VMVT at the time of the arrest.

During the searches of the suspects, the officers also confirmed that they had taken more than 300 thousand. EUR in cash.

Over the past few days, the Special Investigation Service (SST) has conducted about 50 searches involving about 60 officers from all departments.

During the searches of the suspects, the officers also confirmed that they had taken more than 300 thousand. EUR in cash.

Žygimantos Gedvilas/BNS photo/Artūras Urbelis

Immediate possible legal action is currently underway as this pre-trial investigation revealed a systemic corruption scheme, as reported.

“Four persons were arrested – the head of the service and other former or current employees of the service. All of them have been served with notices of suspicion – they are suspected of accepting a bribe for the illegal performance of their direct duties while acting in an organized group,” said Artūras Urbelis, chief prosecutor of the Organized Crime and Corruption Investigation Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office.

The bribes amounted to at least 12,500 euros, and the law imposes the strictest liability for exceeding this limit. Allegations have been made for several episodes of criminal activity. According to the prosecutor’s office, the corruption scheme was carried out for at least a year.

The director of the service was arrested after taking a bribe

The director of the service, M.Staškevičius, was arrested on Sunday, after taking a bribe, and the head of the Department of Veterinary Medicines and Fodder was also arrested, he is suspected of handing over the bribe to M.Staškevičius. Both of them were arrested in Vilnius, in a place not related to the VMVT.

A. Urbelis did not reveal how many such companies there were, which were pressured by VMVT officials to give bribes.

He said that the version being investigated is that it is a long-term operation, and the amounts may change during the investigation.

“Currently, after the actions taken, we have obtained sufficiently reliable evidence about possible corrupt schemes,” said the prosecutor and reminded that the persons from whom bribes were demanded and who gave them are also at risk of criminal liability.

True, they are exempted from responsibility until they are questioned as suspects.

Žygimanto Gedvilas/BNS photo/Darius Balčiūnas

Darius Balčiūnas, head of the Central Investigation Board of the Special Investigations Service, said at a press conference that the officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications allegedly demanded bribes from unnamed business entities every month, threatening to ban exports to foreign countries, sell products on the local market or, in some cases, close the company altogether.

The managers are modern and the corruption scheme is Soviet

A. Urbelis added that he was surprised that such a scheme, which reminded him of the Soviet era, was implemented.

“Senior managers grew up in our independent Lithuania, went to schools and universities of the Republic of Lithuania. For me, this scheme is similar to the Soviet scheme – I remember those times somewhat, but I did not work then. They worked in a similar way – the system worked, money was collected according to the queue up to the very top. Where and what mistakes have been made?” A. Urbelis asked rhetorically.

We see new, modern managers using old tools.

“We see new, modern managers using old tools,” the prosecutor added.

On Monday, it was announced that the Special Investigation Service (STT) is conducting a pre-trial investigation under the control of the General Prosecutor’s Office regarding suspected corruption in the State Food and Veterinary Service (SFS), when representatives of the SFS, possibly working with other persons, demanded bribes from business entities.

Since Monday, searches have been carried out in the residences, workplaces and other places of importance for the investigation of suspected persons, and other necessary investigative actions have been carried out. VMVT director Mantas Staškevičius and three other persons were arrested on Monday.

In the response provided to the BNS news agency, the service indicated that the suspects were able to make decisions favorable to business entities for the bribes they received.

M.Staškevičius was removed from office

By the way, in August, the Government decided to allocate 15 percent. official salary bonus to the head of the Food and Veterinary Service, Mantas Staškevičis, for activities exceeding the normal workload.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the premium is given for the period from September of this year until the end of the year. M.Staškevičius’ salary in the second quarter of this year amounted to 4,535 euros.

The bonus was assigned taking into account the fact that M.Staškevičius’ workload will increase due to the work related to the adaptation of certification services to companies due to Brexit, as well as expanding markets, organizing and coordinating processes.

The government appointed M.Staškevičius as the head of VMVT last April, until then he worked as the deputy director of the same institution.

On Monday, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė signed the decree on the removal of M.Staškevičius from his duties.

STT reminds that under the presumption of innocence, individuals are innocent until proven guilty by a court.

The article is in Lithuanian

Tags: Corruption scheme Food Veterinary Service bribes demanded year threatened stop activities companies Business

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