The Riga City Zemgale Suburb Court judge that was detained by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (CPCB) and released on Thursday, August 9, Ziedonis Strazds is allowed to serve as a judge in accordance with the security measure issued against him, Strazds’ representative Pavels Rebenoks reports.
Strazds is suspected in employing fictive workers. He held in suspicion in accordance with Part 2 of Section 318 of the Criminal Law – using official position in bad faith. He was also presented with security measures – prohibition of certain occupations, namely, the prohibition to perform the duties of the Chairman of the court, prohibition to approach certain people, and the obligation to show up at the police at designated time.
Rebenoks explained that Strazds is prohibited to perform the duties of the Chairman of the Court, but not the duties of a judge. He is allowed to serve as a judge until criminal proceedings are officially initiated against him.
However, it is unknown whether Strazds will come back to serve as a judge any time soon, because he went to the doctor’s on August 10. According to Rebenoks, Strazds was not feeling well even before the arrest, and the stress from the arrest has impacted his health even further. It is possible the doctors will decide to conclude that Strazds is unfit to work.
Also, according to the security measure issued by the CPCB, Strazds is obligated to show up at a designated police department once a week.
Strazds is yet to give any comments, because he does not understand the nature of the sudden suspicion. According to Rebenoks, the CPCB has «created a big noise out of nothing». The suspicion against Strazds seems illogical to him.
Criminal proceedings have been initiated against two judges. Pre-court investigation uncovered that several individuals have been fictitiously employed at the court for many years. It is likely that a Chairman of the court had a hand in the scheme involving individuals that never worked at the court to begin with. Moreover, these individuals were being transferred salaries.
According to LETA, the second court system official that is involved in the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau’s criminal proceedings is Riga District Court (RDC) Civil Court panel judge Skaidrite Buivide. She is also presented with security measures. After being interviewed at the CPCB Buivite fell ill, and she was given a sick leave.
The CPCB notes that no one is considered guilty, until the guilt of a criminal offense is found in full accordance with the order stated in the Law on Criminal Procedure.