Finland’s Defence Force said on Friday that there had been a number of irregularities in a supplementary selection process introduced for an air reserve officers’ training course.
According to reports that first appeared in the daily Helsingin Sanomat, defence officials introduced the additional stage of the Air Force Academy’s annual pilot training selection process between July and August this year.
As a result of the modified application process, two close relatives of Air Force Academy director Mikko Punnala were selected to participate in this year’s training course – after having been eliminated during a previous phase of the selection process.
The course begins with the training of new Air Force pilots and also includes the induction of fresh conscripts. Every year, the Defence Forces select between 35 and 40 applicants for the programme, which lasts for slightly less than one year.
On Friday afternoon, Finland’s Defence Command issued a statement saying that the selection process was under investigation. According to Helsingin Sanomat, Punnala has had to explain the process to staff as well as Air Force top brass and the management of the Air Force Academy in Tikkakoski, Jyväskylä.
Punnala explained that he had recused himself from the actual selection process.