Lithuania: Possible cases of abuse in agriculture intolerable
"I have no doubt that every institution must take care to create an anti-corruption environment and manage potential risks. When asked by the SSA for an analysis, the allegations were confirmed by possible abuse. In this particular case, this was established in 2020 when declaring agricultural land and crops for direct EU payments.
"We will consult with the SSA on what legislation needs to be adopted and what steps to take to eliminate the potential for abuse of office. Investigations will also continue. It is intolerable when the employees of institutions and their relatives, using the information available to them, claim European support, even though they do not carry out any agricultural activities," says Kęstutis Navickas, Minister of Agriculture.
The SSA evaluation showed that in 2020, 3 607 employees of the MAF and its subordinate organisations and their relatives declared crops for EU payments. The total support for these individuals exceeded EUR 20.5 million. The largest number of them is EUR 7.77 million. The national land service and the National Paying Agency and their relatives received €1.5 billion.
Anti-corruption risks were identified: in the holdings declared by 142 employees subordinate to the MAF and their relatives, the state land accounted for over 50 %; 61 – state land accounted for from 30 to 50 per cent; 408 declared grassland and pastures without livestock, presumably without real agricultural activity. ■