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Latvian Justice Minister could be denied access to official secrets due to her previous activities

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUTwo months since the establishment of Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma’s government one minister remains without access to official secrets. Justice Minister Baiba Broke explains this with the possibility of her background check taking more time than usual. This may be due to the fact that she has a long-standing employment history. Nevertheless, there have been signs that the special services have doubts if Baiba Broka can be trusted with top secret information.

Government officials are usually provided with access to official secrets in order to perform specific tasks. However, a high-rank post in the government does not automatically provide one with access to official secrets. First the person is required to fill in a form with a request to the Constitution Protection Bureau to provide access. All ministers except for Justice Minister have been provided with Level 1 access to official secrets. Last week, when the government was discussing the sensitive topic of March 16th and related public events, Broka had to leave the meeting. She also had to miss the meeting that was held to discuss losses caused by sanctions, as reported by Nekā personīga (Nothing personal) programme of TV3.

Broka believes her work is not limited by the lack of access to official secrets: ‘No, I have not experienced any problems with this matter. I am well aware of everything related to justice policy. The law dictates the process and responsibility of authorities that perform the background checks. I have no reason to believe someone performs activities outside of the law,’ – comments Broka.

Prosecutor General Ēriks Kalnmeiers has a different opinion on this. He believes the justice sector cannot be managed without access to official secrets. This sector is also monitored by the Constitution Protection Bureau: ‘In regard to the Justice Minister it is important to remember that CPB is an institution of the Justice Ministry. Therefore, the bureau handles many matters that have the status of top secret. This means the minister is unable to handle such matters without access to official secrets. This is the first such case – when a minister is denied access to official secrets. This matter is under review,’ – said the prosecutor.

According to the programme’s unofficial information, the bureau is busy reviewing multiple facts related to Broka’s past. These include the services she provided to the Arab investor Ominasis, which is well-known as once the owner of Ķemeri sanatorium.

The background check also covers the latest developments – the influence of National Alliance’s sponsors on the party’s decisions. There have been rumours circulating for some time now regarding the role of insolvency administrator and a regular sponsor of the National Alliance Maris Spruds and the origin of his money. Broka denies claims that she tried lobbying the insolvency administrator’s interest while she was in the post of Justice Ministry’s parliamentary secretary and advisor to the minister. According to her, they were colleagues in an association that issued certificates to administrators. Spruds is also a good friend of Broka’s.

The final decision will be announced soon. If the special service declines to provide access to official secrets for Broka, the Prime Minister will have to ask the National Alliance to select a different candidate for the post of Justice Minister.

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