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On the powers of the Minister of Finance to establish the amount of late payment interest

Case No. 15/2011

 THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

IN THE NAME OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON TAX ADMINISTRATION WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 3 February 2014

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Toma Birmontienė, Pranas Kuconis, Gediminas Mesonis, Vytas Milius, Ramutė Ruškytė, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis, and Dainius Žalimas

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1 and 531 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, at the Court’s hearing, on 22 January 2014, considered, under written procedure, constitutional justice case No. 15/2011 subsequent to the petition (No. 1B-14/2011) of the Kaunas Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 1 (wording of 1 July 1997) of Article 38 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 20 December 2007) of Article 16 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Social Insurance, insofar as they entrench the right of the Minister of Finance to establish the amount of late payment interest and the procedure of its calculation, was (is) not in conflict with Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as the constitutional principles of justice and a state under the rule of law.

 

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The petition of the Kaunas Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, is substantiated by the following arguments.

The provision of Paragraph 1 (wording of 1 July 1997) of Article 38 of the Law on State Social Insurance to the effect that late payment interest on the late payment of state social insurance contributions was calculated on the basis of the late payment interest rate, established by the Minister of Finance and applied in respect of the late payment of taxes, and the provision of Paragraph 1 (wording of 20 December 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Social Insurance to the effect that the amount of the aforementioned late payment interest and the procedure of its calculation shall be established by the Minister of Finance, provided the Minister of Finance with a discretionary power, at their own discretion, without any restrictions, indicators or criteria, to establish the amount of late payment interest.

According to the petitioner, in its ruling of 26 September 2006, the Constitutional Court, having investigated an analogous case regarding the powers of the Minister of Finance to establish the amount of late payment interest, recognised that, inter alia, the legal regulation, as established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 26 June 2001) of Article 39 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Tax Administration, which entrenched the powers of the Minister of Finance, when establishing the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of a tax, to decide, only at their own discretion, but not exceeding the established 10-point limit, by how many points to increase the interest rate specified in the said paragraph, had been in conflict with the Constitution.

In view of the provisions of the official constitutional doctrine that disclose the content of the constitutional imperative to establish taxes and other compulsory payments only by law, and the necessity to ensure the continuity of jurisprudence, which stems from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the aforementioned provisions of Paragraph 1 (wording of 1 July 1997) of Article 38 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 20 December 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Social Insurance might (may) be in conflict with Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

II

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written explanations were received from Mečislovas Zasčiurinskas, a member of the Seimas, acting as a representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, in which it is maintained that Paragraph 1 (wording of 1 July 1997) of Article 38 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 20 December 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Social Insurance was (is) not in conflict, in the impugned aspect, with Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution as well as the constitutional principles of justice and a state under the rule of law. The position of the representative of the party concerned is substantiated by the following arguments.

Since, under Item 19 of Article 13 of the Law on Tax Administration (wording of 13 April 2004), state social insurance contributions are administered under the provisions of this law, the Minister of Finance, when establishing the amount of late payment interest payable on the late payment of state social insurance contributions and the calculation of the said amount, should also follow the provisions of the Law on Tax Administration, namely, Article 99 of the Law on Tax Administration (wording of 13 April 2004). This article lays down the criteria on the basis of which the Minister of Finance establishes the amount of late payment interest on the late payment of taxes, including state social insurance contributions.

This is also confirmed by the established practice of determining the amount of the aforementioned late payment interest, since every quarter of the year the Minister of Finance, following Article 99 of the Law on Tax Administration (wording of 13 April 2004), approves the amount of late payment interest that is applied in respect of the undue payment of taxes set out in Article 13 of the said law, thus, state social insurance contributions as well. The Minister of Finance has not adopted any orders that would separately establish the amount of late payment interest paid only on the late payment of state social insurance contributions.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

  1. It has been mentioned that the petitioner requests an investigation into the compliance of Paragraph 1 (wording of 1 July 1997) of Article 38 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 20 December 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Social Insurance, insofar as they entrench the right of the Minister of Finance to establish the amount of late payment interest and the procedure of its calculation, with Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution as well as the constitutional principles of justice and a state under the rule of law.

1.1. Paragraph 1 (wording of 1 July 1997) of Article 38 of the Law on State Social Insurance prescribed: “Late payment interest shall be calculated in respect of a delay in the transfer of contributions to the State Social Insurance Fund on the basis of the late payment interest rate, established by the Minister of Finance and applied in respect of the late payment of taxes. The calculation of late payment interest shall commence on the next day following the day on which contributions had to be paid or transferred until the day when contributions were paid (transferred) inclusive.”

Paragraph 1 (wording of 20 December 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Social Insurance (wording of 4 November 2004) prescribes: “Late payment interest shall be calculated in respect of a delay in the transfer of social insurance contributions to the Fund. The calculation of late payment interest shall commence on the next day following the day on which social insurance contributions had to be paid until the day when social insurance contributions were paid inclusive. Late payment interest may not be calculated for a period exceeding 180 days from the day when the right to enforce the recovery of social insurance contributions arose. The amount of late payment interest and the procedure of its calculation shall be established by the Minister of Finance.”

Consequently, late payment interest, the amount of which shall be established by the Minister of Finance, shall be calculated in respect of the late payment of state social insurance contributions (as in respect of the undue payment of other taxes). It should be mentioned that the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes and the procedure of its calculation are established in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Tax Administration.

1.2. It should be noted that the material of the case and the arguments set forth in the petition, inter alia, the provisions of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 26 September 2006 (it dealt with the legal regulation that entrenched the powers of the Minister of Finance to establish the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes) cited therein, make it clear that the problem of constitutionality raised by the petitioner is not related to the provisions of the Law on State Social Insurance but to the provisions of the Law on Tax Administration that entrench the powers of the Minister of Finance to establish the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, inter alia, state social insurance contributions, and that are applicable by a court in deciding a dispute on the said late payment interest.

1.3. Thus, in the constitutional justice case at issue the Constitutional Court will investigate the compliance of Paragraph 3 (wordings of 28 June 1995 and 2 July 1998) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration, insofar as it entrenched the powers of the Minister of Finance, when establishing the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, to decide, at their own discretion, but not exceeding the established 10-point limit, by how many points to increase the interest rate specified in the said paragraph, as well as the compliance of Article 99 of the Law on Tax Administration (wording of 13 April 2004), insofar as it entrenches the powers of the Minister of Finance, when establishing the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, to increase the interest rate specified in the said article by 10 percentage points, with Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. On 28 June 1995, the Seimas adopted the Law on Tax Administration, which, under the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Entry Into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Tax Administration” that was adopted by the Seimas on the same day, came into force (save the exceptions referred to therein) on 26 July 1995 and in which it established, inter alia, the procedure of the calculation and payment of a tax, the procedure of the enforced recovery of a tax and related amounts as well as the procedure for the settlement of disputes (Article 1). The Law on Tax Administration has been amended and/or supplemented on more than one occasion.

2.1. It should be noted that Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 June 1995) of Article 39 “Late Payment Interest” of the Law on Tax Administration regulated the powers of the Minister of Finance to establish the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, inter alia, state social insurance contributions. The said paragraph prescribed: “The amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of a tax and the procedure of the payment and calculation of late payment interest shall be established by the Minister of Finance, by taking into account the average interest rate of the previous calendar quarter, which is paid on bonds, issued by the state for a period not exceeding one year, and which was increased by up to 10 points.”

On 2 July 1998, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Supplementing and Amending Articles 12, 17, 26, 261, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 37, 38, 39, 391, 49, 50, 52, 54, 55, 56, 57, and 58 of the Law on Tax Administration, Supplementing the Law with Articles 271, 272, 291, 521, and 561, and Recognising Articles 47 and 48 Thereof as No Longer Valid which came into force on 31 July 1998. Paragraph 3 of Article 16 of the said law amended Paragraph 3 (wording 28 June 1995) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration. Paragraph 3 (wording of 2 July 1998) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration prescribed: “The amount of late payment interest and increased late payment interest on the undue payment of a tax as well as the procedure of the payment and calculation of late payment interest shall be established by the Minister of Finance, by taking into account the average interest rate of the previous calendar quarter, which is paid on bonds, issued in Litas by the Government for a period not exceeding one year. The amount of late payment interest shall be established by increasing the interest rate by up to 10 points whilst the amount of increased late payment interest shall be established by increasing the interest rate by up to 15 points.”

Thus, the legal regulation consolidated in Paragraph 3 (wording of 2 July 1998) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration was analogous, in the impugned aspect, to the one consolidated in Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 June 1995) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration. Under Paragraph 3 (wordings of 28 June 1995 and 2 July 1998) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration, the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, inter alia, state social insurance contributions, was established by the Minister of Finance, by taking into account the average interest rate of the previous calendar quarter, which is paid on bonds, issued (in Litas) by the state (the Government) for a period not exceeding one year, and increasing it by up to 10 points. Consequently, the Minister of Finance enjoyed the powers to decide, at their own discretion, but not exceeding the established 10-point limit, by how many points to increase the respective interest rate specified in the said paragraph.

2.2. On 26 June 2001, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending and Supplementing the Law on Tax Administration which, under Paragraph 1 of Article 41 thereof, came into force (with the exceptions referred to therein) on 1 September 2001, and Paragraph 3 of Article 26 of which amended Paragraph 3 (wording of 2 July 1998) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration. Paragraph 3 (wording of 26 June 2001) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration prescribed: “The amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of a tax and the procedure of the payment and calculation of late payment interest shall be established by the Minister of Finance, by taking into account the weighted average of the annual interest rate for the Treasury bills of the Republic of Lithuania, issued in Litas by auction in the previous calendar quarter. The amount of late payment interest shall be established by increasing the interest rate by up to 10 points.”

Thus, the legal regulation consolidated in Paragraph 3 (wording of 26 June 2001) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration was analogous, in the impugned aspect, to the one consolidated in Paragraph 3 (wordings of 28 June 1995 and 2 July 1998) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration.

It should be noted that, in its ruling of 26 September 2006, the Constitutional Court recognised that Paragraph 3 (wording of 26 June 2001) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration, insofar as it entrenched the powers of the Minister of Finance to decide, only at their own discretion, but not exceeding the established 10-point limit, by how many points to increase the interest rate specified in the said paragraph, was in conflict with Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

It should also be noted that, in its ruling of 26 September 2006 ,the Constitutional Court also held that Paragraph 3 (wording of 26 June 2001) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration, insofar as it had established that the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of a tax was established by the Minister of Finance, by taking into account the interest rate specified in the said paragraph, was not in conflict with Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2.3. On 13 April 2004, the Seimas adopted the Law on Tax Administration, which, under Paragraph 1 (with the exception referred to therein) of Article 166 thereof, came into force as from the day of the Republic of Lithuania’s membership in the European Union (1 May 2004) and by means of Article 170 of which the Law on Tax Administration (wording of 28 June 1995 with subsequent amendments and supplements) valid until that day was recognised as no longer valid.

It should be noted that Paragraph 1 of Article 96 “Late Payment Interest” of the Law on Tax Administration (wording of 13 April 2004) prescribes that late payment interest shall be calculated for the taxpayer, inter alia, in respect of the non-payment or undue payment of a tax. It should also be noted that the establishment of the amount of late payment interest and the procedure of its calculation are regulated, inter alia, in Article 99 “The Amount of Late Payment Interest” of the Law on Tax Administration (wording of 13 April 2004), which prescribes: “The amount of late payment interest and the procedure of its calculation shall be established by the Minister of Finance, by taking into account the weighted average of the annual interest rate for the Treasury bills of the Republic of Lithuania, issued in Litas by auction in the previous calendar quarter. The amount of late payment interest shall be established by increasing the said interest rate by 10 percentage points.” This legal regulation has not been subsequently amended and/or supplemented.

Thus, under Article 99 of the Law on Tax Administration (wording of 13 April 2004), the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, inter alia, state social insurance contributions, are established by the Minister of Finance, by taking into account the weighted average of the annual interest rate for the Treasury bills of the Republic of Lithuania, issued in Litas by auction in the previous calendar quarter, and increasing it by 10 percentage points; the Minister of Finance, taking into account the indicated criteria, must increase the interest rate specified in the said paragraph by 10 percentage points.

  1. When deciding whether Paragraph 3 (wordings of 28 June 1995 and 2 July 1998) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration, insofar as it entrenched the powers of the Minister of Finance, when establishing the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, inter alia, state social insurance contributions, to decide, at their own discretion, but not exceeding the established 10-point limit, by how many points to increase the interest rate specified in the said paragraph, was not in conflict with Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it should be noted that, as mentioned before, in its ruling of 26 September 2006, the Constitutional Court recognised that Paragraph 3 (wording of 26 June 2001) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration, insofar as it had entrenched the powers of the Minister of Finance to decide, only at their own discretion, but not exceeding the established 10-point limit, by how many points to increase the interest rate specified in the said paragraph, was in conflict with Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

3.1. It needs to be mentioned that, in its ruling of 26 September 2006, the Constitutional Court noted that after having chosen such a way of legal regulation when the amounts of late payment interest on the non-payment or undue payment of taxes depended on certain indicators specified in the law and could be subject to change, the legislature had to establish, by means of a law, not only the subject (state institution, official) who had the powers to state the existence of the said indicators, upon which, according to the law, such amount of late payment interest depended, and to establish the amounts of such late payment interest according to those indicators, but also to specify the criteria in the law, which had to be followed by the said subject when they established those amounts of late payment interest.

In the said ruling the Constitutional Court held that neither the Law on Tax Administration (wording of 26 June 2001 with subsequent amendments and supplements), nor other laws established any criteria that had to be followed by the Minister of Finance when taking into account the interest rate specified in Paragraph 3 (wording of 26 June 2001) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration and establishing the amounts of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes. Consequently, the Minister of Finance enjoyed not only the powers, when establishing the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of a tax, to increase the said interest rate, but also the powers to decide, only at their own discretion, but not exceeding the established 10-point limit, by how many points to increase the said interest rate.

3.2. It has been mentioned that the legal regulation consolidated in Paragraph 3 (wordings of 28 June 1995 and 2 July 1998) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration was analogous, in the impugned aspect, to the one consolidated in Paragraph 3 (wording of 26 June 2001) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration: the latter paragraph prescribes that the Minister of Finance shall establish the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, inter alia, state social insurance contributions, by increasing a respective interest rate at their own discretion, but not exceeding the established 10-point limit.

The Constitutional Court has held in its acts on more than one occasion that the principle of a state under the rule of law, as enshrined in the Constitution, implies the continuity of jurisprudence (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006, its decision of 8 August 2006, its rulings of 22 October 2007, 9 November 2010, and 11 May 2011); therefore, the Constitutional Court’s legal position, as set forth in its ruling of 26 September 2006, has the significance of a precedent.

In the light of the arguments on the basis of which the Constitutional Court held, in its ruling of 26 September 2006, that Paragraph 3 (wording of 26 June 2001) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration, insofar as it had entrenched the powers of the Minister of Finance to decide, only at their own discretion, but not exceeding the established 10-point limit, by how many points to increase the interest rate specified in the said paragraph, was in conflict with Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it should also be held that Paragraph 3 (wordings of 28 June 1995 and 2 July 1998) of Article 39 of the Law on Tax Administration, insofar as it entrenched the powers of the Minister of Finance, when establishing the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, to decide, at their own discretion, but not exceeding the established 10-point limit, by how many points to increase the interest rate specified in the said paragraph, was also in conflict with Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. When deciding whether Article 99 of the Law on Tax Administration (wording of 13 April 2004), insofar as it entrenches the powers of the Minister of Finance, when establishing the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, inter alia, state social insurance contributions, to increase the interest rate specified in the said article by 10 percentage points, is not in conflict with Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it should be noted that, as mentioned before, the said article prescribes that the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, inter alia, state social insurance contributions, shall be established by the Minister of Finance by increasing the weighted average of the annual interest rate for the Treasury bills of the Republic of Lithuania, issued in Litas by auction in the previous calendar quarter, by 10 percentage points.

4.1. In this context it needs to be mentioned that, in its ruling of 26 September 2006, in which, inter alia, Article 99 of the Law on Tax Administration (wording of 13 April 2004) was cited, the Constitutional Court noted that, when establishing, by means of a law, corresponding coercive measures for failure to implement tax obligations, inter alia, late payment interest on the non-payment or undue payment of taxes, the legislature had certain discretion; for instance, the legislature could choose whether to establish absolute amounts of certain late payment interest on the non-payment or undue payment of taxes, or to establish, by means of a law, such legal regulation that the amounts of the established late payment interest on the non-payment or undue payment of taxes would depend on certain indicators and could be subject to change.

Also, as mentioned before, in its ruling of 26 September 2006, the Constitutional Court noted that, after having chosen such a way of legal regulation where the amounts of late payment interest on the non-payment or undue payment of taxes depended on certain indicators specified in the law and could be subject to change, the legislature had to establish, by means of a law, not only the subject (state institution, official) who had the powers to state the existence of the said indicators, upon which, according to the law, such amount of late payment interest depended, and to establish the amounts of such late payment interest according to these indicators, but also to specify the criteria in the law, which had to be followed by the said subject when they established those amounts of late payment interest.

4.2. It should be noted that, under Article 99 of the Law on Tax Administration (wording of 13 April 2004), the Minister of Finance, when establishing the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, inter alia, state social insurance contributions, must follow clear criteria specified in the said article, i.e. the Minister of Finance establishes the amount of the said late payment interest by increasing the weighted average of the annual interest rate for the Treasury bills of the Republic of Lithuania, issued in Litas by auction in the previous calendar quarter, by 10 percentage points.

Thus, it should be held that the legal regulation consolidated in Article 99 of the Law on Tax Administration (wording of 13 April 2004), under which the Minister of Finance, when establishing the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, inter alia, state social insurance contributions, must follow the aforementioned criteria specified in the said article, does not create any preconditions for them to decide, at their own discretion, by how many points to increase the respective interest rate; consequently, there are no arguments for stating that such legal regulation would, in any way, deny any values enshrined in and defended and protected by the Constitution, and that, inter alia, the requirements stemming from Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law would be violated.

In the light of the foregoing arguments, the conclusion should be drawn that Article 99 of the Law on Tax Administration (wording of 13 April 2004), insofar as it entrenches the powers of the Minister of Finance, when establishing the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, to increase the interest rate specified in the said article by 10 percentage points, is not in conflict with Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 531, 54, 55, and 56 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania gives the following

ruling:

  1. To recognise that Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 June 1995, Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1995, No. 61-1525; wording of 2 July 1998, Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1998, No. 68-1978) of Article 39 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Tax Administration, insofar as it entrenched the powers of the Minister of Finance, when establishing the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, to decide, at their own discretion, but not exceeding the established 10-point limit, by how many points to increase the interest rate specified in the said paragraph, was in conflict with Item 15 of Article 67 and Paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. To recognise that Article 99 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Tax Administration (wording of 13 April 2004; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2004, No. 63-2243), insofar as it entrenches the powers of the Minister of Finance, when establishing the amount of late payment interest on the undue payment of taxes, to increase the interest rate specified in the said article by 10 percentage points, is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

This ruling of the Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                         Toma Birmontienė

                                                                                             Pranas Kuconis

                                                                                             Gediminas Mesonis

                                                                                             Vytas Milius

                                                                                             Egidijus Šileikis

                                                                                             Algirdas Taminskas

                                                                                             Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis