Thursday May 5, 2022
Left Alliance Member of Parliament Suldaan Said Ahmed has
promised to reimburse Parliament for the cost of taxi trips that are not
directly related to his duties as an MP.
The issue came to light when tabloid Iltalehti compared the
taxi journeys of MPs on the parliamentary taxi card during the period from
September 2021 to March this year, and found that Said Ahmed's bill was the
highest. The newspaper further noted that Parliament had instructed Said Ahmed
to take taxis because of concerns for his safety.
Parliament's Director of Administration Pertti Rauhio
confirmed to Yle that Said Ahmed had been told to use taxis instead of public
transport, adding that the instruction was based on a security report by
authorities. Rauhio further noted that this was the first instance of its kind
when an MP was advised not to take public transportation because of security
Said Ahmed's taxi bill for the period from September 2021 to
March 2022 was around 6,500 euros, totalling 212 trips, some of which he
admitted could have been classified as leisure trips.
"Moving forward, I will pay for my leisure taxi trips
myself," Said Ahmed wrote in a tweet responding to the Iltalehti article.
The next highest taxi bill after Said Ahmed was Olli Immonen
(Finns), whose 86 trips amounted to a total of roughly 6,400 euros.
"During the Covid period, Parliament instructed MPs to
avoid using public transport. All my taxi trips have been business trips. My
taxi bill consists of a long commute in the Helsinki metropolitan area and a
trip home from Oulu Airport," Immonen told Yle News.
Immonen and Said Ahmed spent over 1,500 euros more on taxi
trips than the third MP on the list, Markus Lohi of the Centre Party.
MPs are entitled to use a taxi to carry out their duties—in
theory without limits— as long as the travel takes place in the Helsinki
metropolitan area and the trip costs less than 70 euros. Outside this area, MPs
are able to use taxi trips between their home and the nearest airport, train,
or bus station if transport connections are poor or the use of a taxi is
justified for scheduling reasons.