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Suspended national auditor: 'No legal grounds to dismiss me'

Decisions about suspended Auditor General Tytti Yli-Viikari's position are expected next week.

Valtiontalouden tarkastusviraston VTV:n pääjohtaja Tytti Yli-Viikari puhuu medialle oltuaan eduskunnan kansliatoimikunnan kuultavana
Tytti Yli-Viikari speaking to the media on Wednesday. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

The suspended Auditor General, Tytti Yli-Viikari, who faces possible dismissal over alleged unwarranted spending while at the helm of the National Audit Office, presented her case to Parliament's Chancellery Commission on Wednesday morning.

Yli-Viikari became embroiled in an expenses scandal after reports emerged that she spent about 5,000 euros of public money on hairdressing and beauty services. There were also questions over her use of Finnair Bonus flight points.

She was suspended from her job in April.

On Wednesday, Yli-Viikari told reporters after the meeting that there were no legal grounds for her dismissal, saying that the issues presented in the Audit Committee's report were not the legal responsibility of the Director General.

"They are the kind of things for which different officials have official responsibility in their duties," she told the media.

Recited poetry to media: "What a woman"

Responding to a question from Yle regarding the potential of damaging the agency's reputation, Yli-Viikari said there were no legal grounds for placing responsibility exclusively upon the Director General.

"My position is that there are no legal grounds for making the Director General fully accountable. It needs to be seen that the director has responsibility for [overall] strategic management. Of course, my responsibility is to follow the agency's instructions and regulations," she said.

Yli-Viikari noted that she did not agree with some of the 64 expert opinions contained in the Audit Committee's report.

"Some of these statements do not describe the responsibilities, for example, which responsibilities always fall on which official," she said.

When asked whether she intended to return to the job from which she was suspended, Yli-Viikari answered by quoting passages from a poem by the former Lutheran Bishop of Helsinki, Irja Askola, while holding a book of poetry by Askola and Anja Porio named "Mikä nainen," or roughly translated, "What a woman".

The Chancellery Commission aims to determine whether Yli-Viikari has the prerequisites to resume her job as head of the state auditor's office.

A decision on the matter is not expected until its next scheduled meeting, next week. MPs are also scheduled to decide on her possible dismissal next week.

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