The composition of the council is approved by the chief of KNAB. There are guidelines in place that allow the chief of KNAB to exclude NGO’s from the council. Exclusion is possible if said organizations make a written request, are liquidated or do not comply with rules of attending meetings, as well as cases in which NGOs commit breach of ethics norms. It is the latter case why KNAB has decided to remove the two NGOs from the council, as it is believed that they had committed breaches of ethics norms by reporting information about KNAB without confirming said information, thereby reporting false information about the work done by the bureau, as BNN was informed by KNAB.
The KNAB Public Advisory Council was formed to ensure participation of public representatives in the formation of corruption prevention policy and public education. The goal of the council is to promote KNAB’s ties with the public and offer recommendations on better corruption-combating measures.
Delna and Providus have recently published a report in which they sharply criticized the Chief of KNAB Yaroslav Strelchenok, mentioning, among other things, that the team spirit of KNAB was destroyed during his reign specifically.
If there was ever a time when the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau functioned as one team and mutual trust ruled the bureau, this team spirit was ultimately crushed after Yaroslav Strelchenok became chief of KNAB. During his reign, focus was put on administrative matters and demotivation of employees.
This is concluded in a report compiled by Society for openness – Delna and Providus think tank in regards to the work done by KNAB, which is based on results of a study performed by anti-corruption policy and good management expert Liga Stafecka ‘KNAB 2011-2016: period of internal turbulence’ and publicly available information and interviews with former KNAB employees. The goal of the study is turning attention of officials towards the necessity to strengthen the efficiency of the work performed by KNAB, corruption combating measures in Latvia and reduce losses associated with corruption, which cost Latvia around EUR 3.4 to EUR 5.1 billion every year, researchers say.
In his everyday work, Strelchenok had abused his power and had breached KNAB Law in its then approved redaction, specifically the requirement to form an assessment committee in 2013. Instead he evaluated each employee personally. In October 2013, heads of five KNAB departments sent a letter to the Prime Minister, prosecutor general and Saeima Corruption Prevention sub-committee, detailing Strelchenok’s personnel policy.
KNAB employees complained in the letter about the lack of direct communication between the chief and employees, because the chief of KNAB mainly communicates with his assistants without engaging in staff management policy. Jurass as the head of the Operative Investigations Department had to book an individual meeting to resolve organizational matters: ‘And then I was declined multiple times, because there is only one hour a month is secured for that and that other employees had applied for it before me. They told me to come next month’.
Internal pressure in the bureau was only increased with disciplinary cases. 22 disciplinary cases had been initiated by April 2016. Such a number of disciplinary cases insecurity and create a sense of insecurity and fear of the possibility of disciplinary cases being launched against them. This pressure can seriously impact work efficiency. Dismissal and loss of employees continues threatening the bureau’s institutional memory and competence in the fight against corruption. This was also mentioned in OECD’s report.