The Lithuanian parliament's biggest opposition group, Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (conservatives), has collected signatures for initiation of the interpellation procedure against Social Democratic Minister of Defence Juozas Olekas.
Juozas Olekas
© DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

The interpellation initiative was supported by 35 parliamentarians, the party said on Monday.

Under the Seimas statute, interpellation may be initiated by at least of a fifth of the country's 141-seat parliament, i.e., 29 parliamentarians.

Olekas will be asked nine questions about the procurement processes in the national defense system, specifically about acquisition of kitchen utensils from Nota Bene company and the reasons behind the company's frequent victories in procurement tenders, also about possible financing of the Social Democratic Party by Nota Bene shareholders, the minister's refusal to take responsibility for squandering of defense funds, his idea of his further work at the minister after a no-confidence vote from President Dalia Grybauskaitė, etc.

Under the statute, a member of the government has two weeks to present answers to the interpellation questions after receiving them, and the parliament then has up to five working days to discuss them before voting in support or against the answers. In case of disapproval of the answers or a no-confidence vote, the decision requires votes of at least 71 lawmakers.

Olekas faces interpellation after the Public Procurement Service announced on Aug. 30 that the army had purchased various kitchen utensils from Nota Bene at a price that was eight times above the market price. Some 4,000 euros worth of utensils were bought under a contract estimated at about 174,000 euros.

In 2014, Lithuania's army signed a preliminary contract of 1.622 million euros with Nota Bene. The value was nearly double the planned sum of acquisition, 724,000 euros.

A week ago, the Armed Forces said they would send back the purchased spare parts of field kitchens and demanded reimbursement of funds.

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