EX-MINISTER Aki Lindén (SDP) informed the Social Democratic Party last November that police have summoned him to an interview in connection with a pre-trial investigation into procurements made by the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), Tytti Tuppurainen, the chairperson of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Group, revealed to STT on Monday.
Helsinki Police Department on Monday announced it has wrapped up the investigation into the procurements.
The investigation, it said, has been submitted to a prosecutor for consideration of charges, with three people suspected of violating their official duties over failure to abide by provisions of the public procurement act. The procurements were made directly without a competitive tendering process.
According to Turun Sanomat, one of the suspects is Lindén, who served as the chief executive of HUS in 2010–2018.
Lindén denied all wrongdoing in an interview with the newspaper, underscoring that the investigation does not concern procurements he had made. “It’s unfortunate but when you’re in a position of responsibility in a large organisation, these kinds of things can happen,” he commented to Turun Sanomat.
A third party audited the operations of HUS in 2019, concluding that while it is impossible to determine the exact number or value of non-tendered procurements, a significant number of contracts had been extended by e-mail without competitive tendering. The practice had continued since 1998, with the value of non-tendered contract extensions in 2016–2019 alone adding up to almost 80 million euros.
The Market Court issued a penalty payment to the hospital district in 2020.
“The police pre-trial investigation examined serious suspected shortcomings in procurements, as well as their planning and monitoring. The shortcomings led to HUS having neither a complete picture of procurements by the joint municipal authority, nor the ability to recognise and organise re-tendering for the procurements,” said Lauri Huittinen, the detective chief inspector leading the investigation at Helsinki Police Department.
Tuppurainen on Monday stated to STT that Lindén informed the party and its national leadership immediately after police had invited him for an interview in November 2022. Also the regional leadership of the party was notified about the development.
“Police pre-trial investigations are secret until the possible charges are read out some day at a district court,” she reminded, declining to reply when asked about the decision not to inform the public about the suspicions before the parliamentary elections.
STT pointed out in its report that the secrecy of pre-trial investigations applies principally to the content of investigation materials, but it does not preclude anyone from disclosing their status as a suspect.
HUS has declined to both disclose the roles of the suspects and whether any of them continue to work for the district. No employees, however, have been suspended from duty because of the suspicions, a spokesperson said to the news agency.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT