Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaitė says that released transcripts of conversations between Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas and Druskininkai mayor cast doubts on his suitability for the post. Trečiokas has responded that he will not step down, while the opposition wants an interpellation for the minister.
Kęstutis Trečiokas
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

At a working meeting with Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius on Thursday morning, the president restated that the premier was directly responsible for the transparency of operations of ministers, Grybauskaitė's spokeswoman said.

"The publicly available transcripts of conversations about securing a decision in favour of the so-called Vijūnėlė mansion in Druskininkai further fuelled doubts about the environment minister's operations. The prime minister should take a principled stance on the situation and the environment minister's role in the possibly non-transparent processes before deciding on the possibility for him to stay on," spokeswoman Daiva Ulbinaitė told BNS Lithuania.

Minister Trečiokas himself said on Thursday that he had the support of Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius and would stay on in the post.

Trečiokas said he spoke with Butkevičius after the PM met with the president on Thursday morning.

"We spoke on the phone and the prime minister is very well familiar with the situation and my stance. He supports me," Trečiokas told BNS.

"It is the president's job to express doubts and have high standards, while my job is to perform my duties well and, since I haven't made a mistake, (...) I see no grounds for the decision (to step down)," the minister added.

Meanwhile opposition MPs of the Liberal Movement party have drafted an interpellation against Minister Trečiokas and started collecting signatures to support the move.

In the interpellation, the minister is asked whether he admits to having provided misleading information to the parliamentary Anti-Corruption Commission about exerting pressure on the governmental to pass a resolution which lifted zoning requirements in Druskininkai.

Trečiokas is also asked to explain another episode investigated by the law-enforcement, the construction of a supermarket in Prienai.

The leader of Trečiokas' party, Order and Justice, has been accused of taking a €15,000 bribe in exchange for pressuring inspectors of the Environment Ministry to green-light the supermarket in Prienai.

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