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Kulmuni resigns as Minister of Finance over €50k coaching bill

The Centre Party chair had faced questions over the procurement of services from a communications consultancy firm.

Katri Kulmuni tiedotustilaisuudessa 5. kesäkuuta.
The Finance Minister announced her resignation at a press conference on Friday. Image: Yle

Katri Kulmuni has resigned from her position as Minister of Finance but will remain chair of the Centre Party, she announced at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

"I have come to the conclusion that I cannot continue as a member of government," Kulmuni said in a prepared statement. "I have informed the Prime Minister. I will continue as chair of the Centre Party, and the party and the parliamentary group will elect a new minister as soon as possible."

Kulmuni's resignation means she will also no longer hold the role of Deputy Prime Minister.

"I support Katri’s decision, which must have been difficult. I value her as a person and I thank her for our cooperation so far. Our cooperation with the Centre Party will continue in government," Prime Minister Sanna Marin tweeted following Kulmuni's announcement on Friday.

The announcement comes after the Social Democrat Party’s newspaper Demokraatti reported on Friday that police have launched a probe into Kulmuni’s procurement of services from private consulting company Tekir which cost almost 50,000 euros.

The company, run by communications consultant Harri Saukkomaa, coached Kulmuni in speeches, public appearance and one-on-one interviews. The invoices for the training were sent to two ministries, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

Before becoming Minister of Finance, Kulmuni served as the Minister of Economic Affairs.

Police probe procurement process

Demokraatti reported that police began looking into the matter after they received two inquiries. Four complaints were also made to the Chancellor of Justice. Based on the results of the probe, the police may begin a preliminary investigation.

Helsinki Police Department’s Detective Inspector Teemu Jokinen told Demokraatti that the inquiries received by police were related to a suspicion of misuse of public funds, and that police will consider whether there is reason to believe that procurement regulations have been violated.

In her statement to the press on Friday, Kulmuni said she was not aware that there had been any issues in the procurement process.

"I have not been and I am not aware of any legal or administrative problems with the procurement contracts of the ministries or the training itself," Kulmuni said.

Kulmuni had previously announced that she will personally reimburse the ministry for the consultancy costs.

Edit: Updated at 4.15pm to include comments from Prime Minister Sanna Marin.

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