The Lithuanian government intends to turn to the Prosecutor General's Office for evidence that may justify suspending the country's chief veterinary officer Jonas Milius, who is suspected of influence peddling, from the post.
Algirdas Butkevičius
© DELFI (R. Achmedovo nuotr.)

"We plan on turning to the prosecutors for additional information, which would allow the government to consider possible suspension or suspension for the duration of the pre-trial investigation, as we cannot do this under the conclusions drawn by lawyers," Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius told journalists after meeting with Agriculture Minister Virginija Baltraitienė on Wednesday morning.

In his words, Lithuanian laws allow including the suspension bid into the agenda of a government's meeting, and additional information from prosecutors would allow to decide whether the issue can be considered at the government's meeting.

The prime minister said he had not been able to contact Milius, adding he would want to speak to him face to face.

In Butkevičius' words, the main concern now is that the opinions and discussions in connection to Milius have also reached foreign countries.

"There is a big reaction in the international environment. Information received by some countries describes the developments in Lithuania, as the country has enjoyed enormous trust on the international level, we have 170 exports countries," said the prime minister.

In the framework of an influence peddling probe, Lithuanian prosecutors are working to establish whether the State Food and Veterinary Service, headed by Milius, could have concealed a bacterial infection in products of the frozen food producer, Judex, without taking the necessary action.

In addition to Milius, suspicions have been brought against five more individuals in the probe. MP Petras Gražulis, who is linked to the company, has been questioned as a special witness.

Last week, the Prosecutor General's Office and the Special Investigation Service said that checks of Judex production at an independent laboratory revealed several types of bacteria. The veterinary service suspended the company's operations and is conducting checks.

BNS
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