Former economy and justice minister Aigars Stokenbergs has become board member of JSC Pasazieru vilciens.
Along with him two more members were elected – Anrijs Brencens who has so far been head of the board and council of JSC Zasulauks, as well as Silvija Dreimane who has been working in high positions in State JSC Latvijas dzelzcels (LDZ) since 2003 and is currently advisor of the LDZ president Ugis Magonis.
As Stokenbergs said to the newspaper Dienas Bizness: “Transport Minister Aivis Ronis wants me to settle issues concerning the European Commission’s objections in relation to the new trains procurement. Thus, I will probably soon go to Brussels in order to discuss these questions.”
It should be noted that the ex minister is being suspected of defending interests of the Ventspils city Mayor Aivars Lembergs. Two years ago mass media discussed reasons for the meeting of Stokenbergs and Lembergs. This meeting was unofficially regarded with suspicion that this was the way for the politician to make road to the post of the justice minister, the portal Pietiek.com reported.
According to the portal, the Justice Ministry has traditionally been important to Lembergs due to its control-bound Enterprise Register which has long been an important influence lever in fights among Ventspils companies. It should as well be added that during the time when Stokenbergs held the post of the economy minister the sale of state-owned Ventspils nafta (VN) shares which then was so convenient for the Ventspils city Mayor was realized in October 2006. Buyer of 34% VN shares was the international concern Vitol which was thought to be agreed upon by the Ventspils Mayor. Still, Stokenbergs denied that VN shares were sold in favour of Lembergs.
Meanwhile, Silvija Dreimane is a member of the Lembergs’ “friend” party Greens and Farmers.
Last week, after the meeting with the Transport Minister Aivis Ronis, CEO of JSC Pasazieru vilciens resigned keeping only work as a consultant for PV. Resignations have been submitted also by current Pasazieru vilciens board members Edmunds Kancevics, Martins Jirgens and Janis Petersons.
BNN already reported that the electric and diesel train procurement and maintenance prices of the winner of the tender, the Spanish CAF, conflict with the prices, stated in the EU Cohesion fund co-financing project. In the case of diesel trains, the actual price of these trains and their maintenance costs seem higher, and lower for electric trains. This could mean a decision of the EU fund to perform a finance correction in relation to Latvia in full accordance with the European Commission guidelines, stating, that there were violations of the normative acts in the EU co-financed procurement project. This could mean a 25% repayment of the 100 million EUR co-funding.