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Ex-minister did not 'review or approve' orders when €50k in state funds paid for her training

Katri Kulmuni resigned as Finance Minister last year after questions arose over the procurement of services from a consultancy firm.

Katri Kulmuni
Former Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni (Cen). Image: Mikko Ahmajärvi / Yle

Finland's former Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni (Cen), who resigned from the post just over one year ago, has submitted a report to the Chancellor of Justice on the procurement of expensive performance training that led to her resignation.

State funds were used to pay for Kulmuni's performance and coaching services provided by the private consultancy company Tekir, with the final bill amounting to more than 50,000 euros.

"I had not been deciding on the orders placed with Tekir and I had not been aware that any services other than those related to the Minister's duties were procured from Tekir," Kulmuni stated.

Kulmuni: The cost was a 'surprise'

According to the report submitted by Kulmuni to the Chancellor of Justice, she was not aware of the total amount of orders purchased from Tekir.

"I was surprised by the amount of the total cost, as I was of the opinion that the total cost would be in line with the call for tenders. The total was higher than I had thought," she said.

"No invoices had been reviewed or approved by me and I had not seen them before the uproar [over the costs that led to her resignation]. In my view, the invoices were approved by the ministries via the normal procedure, and I did not have the opportunity or cause to intervene in the process."

Kulmuni added that she has reimbursed the full cost of the training even though she had no obligation to do so, and further noted that the training was too expensive compared to the original offer.

"I have assumed overall political responsibility for this matter, which is why I voluntarily resigned and also reimbursed the full costs on my own initiative," she said.

Kulmuni: Training was related to ministerial duties

Kulmuni had hoped for training which would help her improve her performances as a minister, for example with speeches, public appearance and one-on-one interviews.

The training began when Kulmuni was serving as Minister of Economic Affairs and continued when she became Minister of Finance in December 2019.

"I have no reason to assume that the services ordered from Tekir were not related to the performance of ministerial duties, to the improvement of the confidence of performance in line with the tendering procedure," Kulmuni said, adding that she believes that she did not act in breach of her official duties and that complaints to the Chancellor of Justice should not lead to any further action being taken against her.

A decision from the Chancellor of Justice is not expected before early autumn.

Police also investigating procurement process

The Helsinki police department also opened a preliminary investigation into the procurement of the training, as officers suspect the two ministries were fraudulently persuaded to pay for Tekir's services.

One official is suspected of fraud and misconduct.

The Ministry of Finance paid 26,329 euros for the training while the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment paid 29,884 euros.

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