Vice-Mayor of Riga Andris Ameriks has found it difficult to prove he had received a hunting licence in 1987. The politician is currently engaged in litigation with State Forest Service, which had revoked Ameriks’ license five years ago as illegally acquired.
Five years ago, SFS uncovered during an investigation that hundreds of hunting licenses were issued in exchange for old ones, allegedly damaged or lost. Many hunters had restored licenses that, according to records, were originally issued to completely different people, as reported by De Facto programme of LTV.
As a result, SFS has revoked more than 400 hunting licenses. Many decided to complain in court. Among those people is Andris Ameriks.
Ameriks’ representative claimed this week that the politician has had a hunting license since his time working in Komsomol and later in the Saeima. Unfortunately for Ameriks, the earliest when his name appears in hunting records is 2005. It is supposed that he had received a new license without handing in his old one. Records also state a specific number for Ameriks. However, older journal entries show that the old license belonged to another person. In addition, the man in question managed to prove it in court.
The mess in journal entries of SFS is Ameriks’ trump card in court. He claims he is innocent and blames the service for not keeping their records in order.
According to Ameriks, he received his hunting licence in 1987 after an examination and shooting test in Ziepniekkalns. Formalities were settled in Old Riga, Kungu street 8.
«We have no proof. No evidence exists. We’ve tried asking the institution to look up information in the archive, but they’ve said they have nothing,» – said Ameriks’ lawyer Ilgvars Kvants.
In Soviet times, licenses were issued by hunting and fishing associations. In 1992, it was simply necessary to replace old licenses with new ones from the State Forest Service. Ameriks claims he did just that.
«This fact appears only in Ameriks’ testimony. There is no documented proof of this,» – SES representative Andis Busmanis doubts Ameriks’ version.
The only journal entry regarding Ameriks’ license dates to 2005. In addition, SES believes this license was not even Ameriks’ to begin with, and that the first license was received by Ameriks in 1992, not 1987.
«Those were Soviet times. I had received my license legally. It took place on the second floor of the building on Kungu street where a Japanese restaurant is currently situated,» – claims Ameriks. He mentioned that he trained in an underground police firing range near Dailes Theatre.
It should be noted that during the litigation Ameriks passed his exam and received a license. Now he is engaged in litigation «just because». The police have launched an investigation of the hunting licenses case. However, nothing criminal has been found so far.