Antti Hartikainen, the director general of Finnish Customs, has been charged with violation of official duty, reports Helsingin Sanomat.
Prosecutor Anja-Riitta Rinkinen revealed to the newspaper yesterday that the charge stems from his failure to leave a meeting where the fixed-term employment contract of his partner was indirectly discussed in November, 2015.
Hartikainen was, as a result, ruled to have violated the administrative procedure act the following spring by the Deputy Parliamentary Ombudsman. The administrative procedure act stipulates that “a public official shall not participate in the consideration of a matter or be present during such consideration if he or she is disqualified”.
He may have committed another offence in office by failing to tell about the charge to the Ministry of Finance, according to Seppo Koskinen, a professor of labour law at the University of Turku. Finnish Customs operates within the administrative branch of the Ministry of Finance.
“It’s perfectly clear that a high-ranking official must notify his or her superior immediately of a charge or pre-trial investigation,” he stated to Helsingin Sanomat.
Rinkinen told the newspaper that she informed the suspect of the charge shortly before Christmas. The issue, however, was only brought to the attention of the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday, according to Martti Hetemäki, the permanent state secretary at the Ministry of Finance.
Hartikainen said he did not receive the details of the charge until yesterday and admitted that he had been under the impression that the prosecution would keep his employer informed during the pre-trial investigation and deliberation of charges.
He has declined to comment further on the issue. He has been no stranger to controversy during his tenure at the helm of Finnish Customs, having been reprimanded twice for improper conduct by the Ministry of Finance.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi