Corruption scandal erupts in Lithuanian ruling coalition



Allegations of corruption have shaken the members of the ruling coalition of Lithuania with Special Investigation Service (SIS) officers searching the headquarters of the Order and Justice Party on Tuesday.

SIS officers have raided the headquarters of the Order and Justice Party and homes of five persons, said the Service.

Two of them have been working at the Ministry of Interior of Lithuania, others are business owners, said SIS.

According to the prosecutors, the probe is connected with the public procurement at the Ministry of Interior. Persons mentioned have been detained and being questioned, said the Prosecutor's Office of Lithuania.

"They will soon receive notifications with allegations of trading in influence," said Darius Raulusaitis, Deputy Prosecutor General, in a news conference soon after the raids.

According to local media reports, Rolandas Skaisgirys, a film producer, is among those detained.

The sum of suspected bribes accounts to 32,000 litas (about 12,800 U.S. dollars), reported Lithuanian national radio LRT.

Raulusaitis declined to comment on whether the party will receive allegations.

The Order and Justice Party, leaded by impeached Lithuanian President Rolandas Paksas, is a member of Lithuania's ruling centre-left coalition.

Paksas told BNS news agency he had no information on SIS raids at the party's headquarters in Vilnius.

"We'll see whether it's another move against the party or some mistakes have been made. Let's wait and see," he said.

Dailis Alfonsas Barakauskas, the Interior Minister and a member of the Order and Justice party, wasn't available to Lithuanian media after the news on allegations appeared.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius plans meeting Barakauskas on Wednesday to get more details before deciding whether the Minister can continue his duty.

"As soon as I have the information, I'll be able to make a decision. Today it would be really wrong for me to make a decision without having all the information," said Butkevicius to LRT. Enditem