Decision of the court The Chancellor of Justice illegally concealed information about the change of minister to the bank

The Supreme Administrative Court ruled on Yle’s interest in a case concerning a request for information on the transfer of a former minister to the board of a Swedish bank while he was in office.

The court ruled on Monday that the Chancellor of Justice’s decision to conceal documents related to the then Minister of Transport and Communications Anne BernerThe decision to join the Board of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) in 2019 is against the freedom of information laws.

The court has returned the case to the Chancellor of Justice’s office for reconsideration.

In February 2019, Yle’s journalist Merja Niilola requested documents from the Office of the Chancellor of Justice, including e-mail correspondence Tuomas Pöysti Berner’s appointment to the bank’s board of directors as a member of parliament, minister, and governing coalition.

The Agency refused to disclose the documents on the grounds of confidentiality.

However, the Supreme Administrative Court rejected this interpretation and held that according to Article 12 (2) of the Finnish Constitution, documents and other recordings held by an authority are public, unless their disclosure is expressly restricted by law, for example for reasons of national security.

In the light of the decision of the Administrative Court, the Office of the Chancellor of Justice has now been forced to update its decision on the disclosure of documents.

Background to the request for information

Former Minister Berner ran the family-owned interior design company Vallila Interior for several years before becoming the Uusimaa constituency’s non-aligned candidate for the Central Party in 2015. Despite the first MPs, he was then handed over to the then Prime Minister by the Transport and Communications Portfolio. Juha Sipilä (Cen).

His ambitious attempt to modernize Finland’s transport infrastructure and introduce private ownership caused friction, especially within the City Center, while another proposal to abolish the vehicle tax and establish a toll was never set in motion.

In 2019, Berner announced that he did not intend to run for re-election in this year’s parliamentary elections, but would instead move to the Board of SEB Bank in Sweden.

His announcement received widespread media attention at the time, as board members are prohibited by the constitution from performing administrative duties in banks or financial institutions while in office.

Berner said at the time that he would not take office until April 29, 2019, about two weeks after the April 14 elections, and the Chancellor of Justice’s office considered this to be in accordance with Finnish law. However, the online news magazine Uusi Suomi reported that the government would meet for the first time on March 26 – while Berner was still a minister.

SEB then issued a statement specifying that Berner would not become a member of the Board until June 1.

The correspondence of the Chancellor of Justice at that time was the subject of a request for information from Yle’s journalist Niilola.

Source: The Nordic Page





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