Maxima Latvija has been recognized as a victim in the criminal process regarding the cave-in of the roof of Maxima XX supermarket in Zolitude. The cave-in of the roof destroyed goods, furniture and equipment. Even the money that was in cash registers that day disappeared. The total estimated losses are nearly EUR 1.7 million.
Maxima Latvija had insured its properties and goods. Compensation is expected to be paid by the insurer. By submitting an insurance claim to the insurer Maxima cannot avoid submitting one in the criminal process as well. Otherwise the insurer may have suspicions that Maxima may be a fraud, said lawyer of Maxima Latvija Oskars Rode in his interview to De Facto programme of LTV.
When asked if Maxima could not compensate its own losses as a show of good will, Rode replied: ‘Forgive and forget, yes? Forgive who? People who did not do their jobs properly?’
Not only Maxima but also Tineo has applied for a compensation. Tineo is the owner and manager of the building. Tineo was the company from which Maxima rented premises on Priedaines Street. Tineo’s requested compensation amount is EUR 4.4 million.
Tineo bought the newly-built and government-inspected building. This is why Tineo has all the rights to believe the technical state of the building was good and no additional measures were necessary. «That is why we bought the building. And that is why we now request victim status,» – explains Tineo board member Ilona Gobite.
In addition, although the collapse of Maxima’s roof seemed like a sudden event from the outside, collapse of certain roof supports happened before. Specialists working at the object should have noticed problems with their own eyes on multiple occasions, as concluded by experts hired by State Police.
De Facto, in response to information regarding the experiment that was carried out on the ruins of the building, reports that screw nests in certain areas of roof supports had started deforming in October and November 2013: shortly before the tragedy. Experts have concluded that the roof caved in because lower metal support line’s screws were overloaded 6.5 times.
Experts are certain that deformation were already visible during construction. Traces of fire protection paint were found in places where they should not have been, had the crews been tightly put in place. Therefore deformations had surfaced as early as July 2011, when the object was approved for paint work.
Had construction manager Stanislav Kumpins and construction supervisors Ivars Sergets and Martins Draudins carefully surveyed the building, they would have definitely noticed deformations, as mentioned in the report of experts hired by police.
Experts have concluded that the mechanical strength of used screws was below the necessary level.
Experts hired by the police refused to comment their findings in detail prior to the court. One of the experts, Aigars Udris of Riga Technical University mentions: «This is not just about asking the question as to whether everything is alright. It is about the duty listed in detail in their job descriptions.»
The accused deny their guilt. Architect Andris Kalinka says the prosecution’s allegations are mistaken. Construction inspector Sergets believes he is being held accountable for something that was not part of his job contract. Expert Andris Gulbis notes he was not informed that supports would be tied together with screws. Construction manager Kumpins blames Sergets.