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Estonian state grain reserve disappeared under previous govt
Baltic News Service, March 18, 2004
Estonian Agriculture Minister Tiit Tammsaar said tens of millions kroons of worth of grain from the state grain reserve had disappeared already when the present coalition came to power.

"It was organized activity over a long period of time. It is physically impossible to steal such a large amount of grain over such a short period of time," Tammsaar Thursday told BNS.

Another reason speaking in favor of theft over a long time is that double ceilings had been built into the granary. "This is a lot of work, after all."
"I support the hypothesis that the grain was stolen over a long time, the double ceilings are a clear indication of this," the minister said.

Tammsaar said that the grain had apparently been taken away already by the time the present coalition came to power in March and he took office as minister. "The question is -- when did the theft start," he said.

The Agriculture Minstry established a few days ago that about 13,000 tons of grain, nearly one third of the state' security grain reserve of about 40,000 tons, had disappeared.

Vladimir Semyonov, director of AS Rakvere Viljasalv (Rakvere Granary) has admitted his guilt.

The police has taken criminal action to investigate the theft and an in-house inquiry has also been launched. The latter can provide some results in about a week.

Finance Minister Taavi Veskimagi and Tammsaar Thursday called back members of the supervisory board of the state-owned AS Eesti Viljasalv (Estonian Grain Board) and appointed new ones instead.

Tammsaar said that the new supervisory board would be able to make more objective decisions, but this would not clear the previous board of responsibility.

Supervisory board of Eesti Viljasalv will meet for an extraordinary session in the next few days to discuss the resignation of manager Ago Soots.

Tiit Tammsaar has said he is not going to resign because of the grain theft.
MGR Archive 19.3.2004
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