Government Fires Prosecutor General Over Conviction

Prosecutor General will be paid more than €10,000 per month during a six month notice period, although he won't have to work during that time.

Former Attorney General Matti Nissinen / File Photo

The Finnish Government has decided to dismiss Prosecutor General Matti Nissinen, following a court conviction against him.

According to the government, Nissinen is no longer fully able to handle the duties of his job.

“The confidence and credibility of the Prosecutor General are a key part of his ability to function” says Justice Minister Antti Häkkänen (NCP).

Background Story

Matti Nissinen admitted a breach of responsibilities last October, over the part he played in handing a lucrative contract from his department, to a company run by his brother.

Nissinen made the admission in a written statement to a Helsinki court but denies there was a deliberate effort to commit a crime.

Matti Nissinen was charged with misconduct, and accused of awarding lucrative staff training contracts to a company owned by his brother, after a corruption investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation NBI.

The brother’s company, Deep Lead Oy, says on its website that it offers “an extensive range of comprehensive training solutions for the development of the individual, group and organization”.

Deep Lead received €74,000 between 2007 and 2015 – including a period of time before Matti Nissinen took up his job in 2010.

At the beginning of the NBI’s investigation, Nissinen was suspected merely of being negligent with the training contracts. Later, the police came to the conclusion that Nissinen had understood he was acting unlawfully.

The Prosecutor General is Finland’s senior prosecutor and has the power to nominate district-level prosecutors; participates in developing legislation; gives general instructions to prosecutors; and oversees prosecutions.

Nissinen was already serving a suspension from his job before the official charges were filed.

Written Warning Not Sufficient

This week, the Ministry of Justice announced that it would seek Nissinen’s formal dismissal, and stated that a written warning wouldn’t have been enough to maintain the credibility of the prosecutor’s office.

“When a person in the State Prosecutor’s Office is convicted of a crime, a warning can not be considered a sufficient sanction” the ministry said in a statement.

Nissinen Still Getting Paid

According to the government, Nissinen will still receive a salary of more than €10,000 per month during his redundancy notice period.

He will not work during the notice period, but Finnish media reported that he will continue to get paid for another six months.

Director Arto Kujala of the Ministry of Justice says if Nissinen himself had quit, he would have only been paid for two months notice.

At present Nissinen has replaced by Deputy Prosecutor General Raija Toiviainen.

Nissinen has the opportunity to appeal his dismissal to the Supreme Administrative Court.