The security measures imposed against Aivars Lembergs, who is being accused of serious crimes, to prevent him from carrying out the duties of Mayor of Ventspils do not seem to bother him, as he still sees himself as the legal owner of Ventspils. Nonetheless, it seems that his «posing» in front of the media and society has cost him a high price – the Prosecutor General’s office received an unfortunate (for Lembergs) testimony, which will, most likely, be used to impose stricter security measures against him. Politicians interviewed by BNN point to loopholes in legislation and express their hope that future decisions of the law enforcement institutions will not give Lembergs the same arbitrariness as they did before.
«The current situation – when Lembergs, in fact continues to carry out the duties of Mayor of Ventpils, does not adhere to neither international, not ethical principles – he should resign, and his represented party For Latvia and Ventspils should step in», – says the deputy of the opposition of Ventspils City Council Vladislavs Shafranskis.
«The decisions of the law enforcement institutions in relation to the security measures that allow Lembergs to continue carrying out the duties of Mayor of Ventspils are not effective – he still positions himself as the owner of the city, joyrides in a luxurious car owned by Ventspils Free port, represents the local government. Previous decisions need to be followed, so that Lembergs would not be able to reach for the microphone next to the State President and Saeima Chairwoman using his personal and not State and local government resources», – Shafranskis says. He hopes that, in time, Edmunds Sprudzs as the Minister for the Environmental Protection and Regional Development will also take a strong position on this issue and finds the courage to ensure that a person accused of serious crimes would not be able to take office in State government.
«The State does not do anything to prevent such people from gaining access to posts in State government. Law enforcement institutions should also explain to both the public and the media that no one should vote for such people during elections. What we have now is completely the opposite – Lembergs regularly appears on mass media waves, his words are widely cited, he even lets himself openly criticize people who are much more honest than he is. As long as this situation persists and people continue voting for thieves, we will remain in the hole we are now», – Shafranskis believes.
It should be noted that the Prosecutor General’s office received an unfortunate testimony for the actual leader of the Greens’ and Farmers’ Union on May 31, which will, most likely, be used to impose stricter security measures against the Mayor of Ventspils. This testimony could prove to be fatal to Lembergs, because it proves the suspicion of the Prosecutor General’s office of the violation of the restrictions imposed against Lembergs.
Shafranskis has not seen this testimony, but expresses his concern that the formulations contained in the testimony will not be clear and precise enough to ensure that Lembergs will not be able to publicly represent both the City Council and the Board of the Free port.
Even Unity representative Ina Druviete allows that there are loopholes and inconsistencies in the legislation, which allow the development of the current situation – when a person accused of serious crimes, is able to take up office in State government. «However, I do not specialize in these questions, therefore, I prefer to wait for the evaluation of specialists and law enforcement institutions. Judicial aspects have weight here, and I trust specialists», – Druviete says.
Saeima deputy, criminal law expert Andrejs Judins (Unity) expressed a similar opinion to BNN, pointing – if appropriate security measures are not followed, then it is grounds for imposing stricter security measures. He says that such assessment is within the competency of law enforcement institutions, the decisions of which he trusts.
The situation when a person accused of serious crimes occupies the post of a Mayor – seems absolutely unacceptable to the deputy of the previous parliamentary team of Ventspils City Council Aivis Landmanis. «It should be stated in the legislation that a person who is being tried for committing serious crimes cannot be part of the State government. We are not talking about traffic rules violations, but corruption. By continuing to carry out the duties of Mayor of Ventspils, Lembergs obstructs the Court’s investigation and inspires the current parliamentary team of Ventspils City Council that he has all the opportunities to continue his work.» According to Landmenis, the State is not doing anything to resolve this situation: «It is possible that many representatives of party elite are corrupted, and cover up for Lembergs in fear that if they act against this situation, their own violations will be revealed.»
The former deputy expects that Sprudzs will explain to the population what Lembergs’ restriction to carry out those duties means in reality. «I believe that staying on the post of Mayor also means the use of this word, which Lembergs does – he continues to position himself as Mayor, presents himself as Mayor and organizes press conferences using local government money – which is unacceptable», – Landmanis says.
BNN was unable to get a straight answer from neither Sprudzs, nor his represented Reform party to the question whether a situation when people who are accused of serious crimes are allowed to take office in State government is acceptable in Latvia, and how to prevent this from happening.
It was previously reported that the Court of London or the Queen’s Bench Division of Commercial Court of the Supreme Court of UK initiated another proceeding in relation to an alleged theft of money from Latvian Shipping Company, in which Lembergs is one of the main defendants. Also, in the eyes of London Court, Lembergs and a number of other individuals are also involved in money laundering of over nine million dollars, for which offshore offices registered in Gibraltar were used, as stated in London Court’s international warrant for the freezing of assets.