Latviski English По-русски
Monday 19.03.2018 | Name days: Jāzeps

Millions worth fuel stolen from the state yearly

(+3 rating, 3 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUFuel worth millions of lats is stolen from the state and its institutions yearly, public officials say.

«Many know this but barely any of them speak out,» a high-ranking public official, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the business news portal BNN.

Similarly, also the fuel market experts point out the issue is not going to lose its topicality for a long time. The average proportion of fuel stolen from the state and used for private needs accounts for 25-40%. The Procurement Monitoring Bureau’s estimates show the state is thus deprived of millions of lats.

Inguna Sudraba, Latvia Auditor General, admits the problem, stressing that they can only check the efficiency of the use of fuel from the perspective of documents. The State Audit Office (SAO) cannot check whether it is really used for the designed purposes. Such physical control is only possible from the very institution itself, she says, adding that there have already been a couple of cases when the SAO rules that an entity has to repay for inefficient use of fuel.

No specific probes have yet been launched on this, as it has always been done within the framework of financial audits, Sudraba says.

Meanwhile, the industry representatives point out the issue stems from the Soviet times and is considered to be a normal practice among employees. There is even no point in discussing whether fuel is stolen from state institutions as it would be similar to wondering whether the day will break again. The question is how to fight this, Jevgenijs Kisiels, the long-standing president of the Fuel Traders and Producers Association, told the business news portal BNN.

Recently, the media has been abounding in news stories with high-ranking public officials using vehicles for private needs, however, this is said to be just «the visible part of an iceberg», say people close to the matter. Besides, if you are not caught red-handed and this has already turned into an ordinary practice, the practical Latvian will go on with it. We can, of course, grumble about the state and the fact it barely provides for people, but we must realize it is us who fill the State Treasury. If we dodge taxes, the living condition will grow even worse, says Miks Lusis, fuel market expert.

Stricter control over employees use of these vehicles would save the state a lot, all BNN surveyed experts are sure. When the crisis stroke, fuel thefts subsided slightly, as the public sector’s procurements dropped as well. Everyone was racking their brain of how to save as much as possible. However, the possibility «to have a free ride» became even more appealing when remuneration was cut in the public sector, a representative of a ministry told BNN, stressing that the current itinerary system is inefficient, especially, when a large number of cars has to be kept under control, Moreover, the mechanism can be avoided easily, he says.

Kisiels points out this has always been an everlasting issue and it will remain so. It is exceedingly difficult to control it but there are a number of ways how it can be done, for example, an itinerary system. But, you see, when a manager has agreed with an employee, no control is longer possible. Also Sudraba (Auditor General) agrees this can hardly be subject to any control. The only way how to do this originates from the Soviet times – the car must be returned in a specific hour, but if it is left to the employee also after that – no one will ever be able to follow that.

Leave a reply

Russian presidential election pronounced won by Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin been announced as the winner of the Sunday, March 18, presidential election, as the politician has pledged to devote his new term in office to strengthen Russia’s defences against the West and to improve the quality of life.

Week in Lithuania. Some 5,000 gather in protest rally outside Lithuania's Parliament

Some 5,000 people gathered outside the Lithuanian parliament in Vilnius on Thursday, March 15, to express discontent with the failed parliamentary vote to impeach MP Mindaugas Bastys and the performance of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union.

BNN summary of the week: oligarch talks’ ownership; scandals in Lithuania; Estonia wants direct democracy

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Progress; Scandals; Invitation; Fight; Opinion; Decline.

Remembrance day of Latvian Legionnaires passes with shouts and two arrests

The Legionnaires’ remembrance procession in Riga on Friday, 16 March, passed peacefully. Nevertheless, several conflicts did take place among differently-minded people near the Freedom Monument. Two individuals were arrested by police.

Influenza intensity in Latvia – moderate when compared to other European nations

A comparison of influenza activity in Europe shows that it is high or very high in several countries. Latvia’s influenza intensity is considered moderate, as noted by epidemiologist Raina Nikiforova.

Hourly labour costs in Latvia grew 7.3% in 2017

Compared to Q4 2016, in Q4 2017 hourly labour costs rose by 54 cents or 7.3 %, reaching EUR 8.02. Seasonally adjusted data show identical changes – rise of 7.3 %.

Rietumu Banka claims it has not worked with high-risk clients for years

Rietumu Banka has been steadily rejecting high-risk clients for years and has significantly reduced the volume of transactions, as mentioned by the bank’s representatives.

Lithuanian and Estonian businessmen are ahead of Latvia in terms of investments

In Latvia, 36% of small and medium-sized companies have plans to invest in the development of their business this year. In Estonia and Lithuania, on the other hand, the proportion of businesses with development plans is 42% and 46%, respectively, according to results of a recent study performed by SEB Bank.

Russia pledges maximum pressure on UK amid ex-spy poisoning row

Russian top diplomat in the UK has envisaged on Friday, March 16, that the Kremlin would use maximum pressure on London as Moscow insists it has not been involved in the poisoning of a former Russian-British double agent with a Russian-made chemical weapon, as has been found by British investigators.

Latvia’s ministry: Crimea’s annexation is illegal

18 March 2018 will mark four years since the Russian Federation violated Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by annexing the Crimean Peninsula and causing military aggression in the country’s eastern region. With its actions the Russian Federation has violated international law and basic principles of international relation, says Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Building gas pipe to Finland, Estonia to organise works for EUR 135 million

Continuing the works on the Balticconnector gas pipeline between Estonia and Finland, the Estonian natural gas network company Elering has stated that around 135 million euros, including a 98-million-euro funding from the European Union, will be invested in the project.

Replacement of cash registers rejected by SRS would cost half a million euros

The State Revenue Service has declined 18,000 cash registers as unfitting for requirements established by the Cabinet of Ministers. Fixing the problems found in them would cost half a million euros, as reported by LNT News.

Latvian Anti-Nazi Committee presented with protest restrictions on 16 March

Administrative District Court has compiled a shortened ruling, in which it rejected Latvian Anti-Nazi Committee’s application and preserved the decision imposed by Riga City acting CEO on 13 March 2018 on establishing restrictions on the planned gathering and protest act for 16 March unchanged.

U.S. introduces Russian sanctions for election meddling and cyber-attacks

Washington has introduced sanctions against 19 Russian individuals and five entities blaming them for attempts to sway the 2016 U.S. election and perceived cyber-attacks.

Slovakian PM Fico replaced with fellow party member

Slovakian head of government Robert Fico has stepped down after the murder of a journalist shed light on corruption in Slovakia, prompting nationwide protests. The long-standing Prime Minister had offered to resign earlier this week if the ruling coalition was allowed to finish its term.

Weekends will be cold and sunny in Latvia; next week will have volatile weather

Starting with Sunday, 18 March, air temperature in Latvia will rise above zero in most of the country, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Lithuania’s ruling LFGU party remains unscathed by scandals

It seems that, for now, Lithuania‘s ruling Farmers and Green Union has been nearly damage-proof despite the lambasting.

Latvian Civic Alliance: non-government sector should aim towards cooperation

Latvian Civic Alliance has invited the management of Latvia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry to meet to discuss ongoing cooperation between organizations representing the business sector and the NGO sector.

Saeima rejects National Alliance’s proposal to make 16 March an official remembrance day

Latvia’s Saeima has decided to reject the proposal submitted by the National Alliance on making 16 March an official remembrance day.

43.6% of Latvian households have difficulties with making ends meet

In 2017 the share of households admitting that pay for usual necessary expenses with difficulty or great difficulty constituted 43.6 %, which is 1.5 percentage points more than in 2016.

Saeima voices support for Rail Baltica project’s progression

On Thursday, 15 March, the Saeima made a decision to support Rail Baltica project’s progression. In its decision, the parliament invited Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers to provide all the necessary support for the project’s successful realization to ensure the project is realized in accordance with established terms and does not lose funding or support from the European Union, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

Fast snow shovelling linked to cardiac fatalities, Finnish study finds

In Finish doctoral study, it has been concluded that snow should be shovelled calmly, not provoking stress and increased adrenaline in human blood that could lead to cardiac arrest.

Riga’s mayor spent at least eight million euros of residents’ money to promote himself

Over the course of the past three years, at least EUR 8 million of residents’ money has been used to promote the image of the Mayor of Riga Nils Ušakovs. This money was used to buy media, employ young members of Harmony, and finance ‘in-house protestors’ and using social networks, as estimated by Re:Baltica research journalism center.

Slovenia's head of government resigns amid protests and struggling railway investment

The Slovenian head of government Miro Cerar has stepped down from office in reaction to troubles with an expensive railway project and mounting opposition by trade unions.

NAF Commander: Latvia and Estonia have joint military procurements planned

Latvia and Estonia have joint military procurements planned, Commander of Latvia’s National Armed Forces Leonīds Kalniņš told journalists after his meeting with Commander of Estonia’s Defence Forces Riho Terras.