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Jani Toivola, a second-term Member of the Parliament from Uusimaa, answered questions from the media regarding his use of taxis in Helsinki on Thursday, 27 September. (Credit: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)
Jani Toivola, a second-term Member of the Parliament from Uusimaa, answered questions from the media regarding his use of taxis in Helsinki on Thursday, 27 September. (Credit: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

 

Krista Mikkonen, the chairperson of the Green Parliamentary Group, announced last week she has issued a serious reprimand to Jani Toivola, a second-term Member of the Finnish Parliament from Uusimaa.

Toivola has recently come under severe criticism for misusing the expense allowance system, racking up extensive taxi expenses and charging substantial fees for visiting schools.

The Finnish Parliament had paid the second-term representative an additional 329 euros a month in expense allowances on grounds that he was registered as a resident of Riihimäki, a town located some 80 kilometres north of Helsinki. Iltalehti, however, reported last week that he has not used the house for approximately two years and has effectively lived in Helsinki.

Members of the Parliament are entitled to a monthly expense allowance of roughly 987 euros a month if they live within 30 kilometres of and an additional 329 euros a month if they live further away from Helsinki.

Mikkonen on Thursday reminded that fostering trust is among the key responsibilities of Members of the Parliament.

“It is obvious that there can be no room for carelessness and negligence when it comes to using the benefits that come with the responsibilities of Members of the Parliament. The actions are reprehensible even if no parliamentary rules have been broken,” she stated.

“For their part, incidents such as this erode public confidence in politics and decision makers.”

Toivola has both recognised and admitted his mistake, as well as taken action to remedy the situation, highlighted Mikkonen. Toivola on Thursday told reporters that he will return the reimbursements received for his taxi expenses.

“It is of utmost importance to investigate the issue and remedy any mistakes,” said Mikkonen.

Olli-Poika Parviainen, a deputy chairperson of the Green Parliamentary Group, stated earlier that the parliamentary group will devise clear ethical guidelines in order to prevent similar cases from emerging in the future.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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