Seimas panel questions national broadcaster's top management

Žygintas Pečiulis, Rimvydas Paleckis ir Audrius Siaurusevičius

Žygintas Pečiulis, the head of the council of the Lithuanian national broadcaster LRT, told the parliamentary commission scrutinizing LRT finances whether members of the council understood numbers of the budgets they had approved.

Members of the commission asked Pečiulis for reasons behind LRT's failure to provide the panel with all contracts with producers who had given their consent and about the chaotic character of the documents.

Pečiulis said that requests for producer consent for sending copies of contracts to the lawmakers resulted in three types of answers: refusal, consent and consent with certain reservations.

"There were three groups of answers: some gave their consent, others didn't and the third group gave their consent with certain conditions – they said LRT would be held accountable for any leak of information," he added.

He said the large number of documents was the main reason behind the chaos. "As we only had 20 days to prepare a very large number of documents, and there was Christmas, other days-off in between, so we had around ten days to prepare the materials, on the deadline for presentation the documents were still coming in, we were sorting them," Pečiulis said.

Meanwhile, LRT CEO Audrius Siaurusevičius answered questions about why people with employment contracts at LRT were also paid royalties. Siaurusevičius only answered one question, with the questioning to continue next Thursday.

Siaurusevičius was mainly questioned by Agnė Širinskienė, MP of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union whom he accused of bias.

"As far as I understand the law, a members of the commission cannot be biased. If you saw, the conversation with me was odd, Mrs. Širinskienė was asking, she is again imagining she knows something and I don't know what she knows. We don't know what documents she refers to, we have not provided any documents to the commission," said Siaurusevičius.

At the end of his testimony to the commission, he responded that "a day was lost but possibly that was mutually beneficial."

Initiated by the ruling LFGU, the commission aims to find out whether the national broadcaster spends budgetary means in a proper manner.

The commission should complete the probe by June 1.

Source: BNS
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