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Sunday 18.02.2018 | Name days: Kintija, Kora

Ventspils Free port delays the investigation of Lembergs’ conflict of interests

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Aivars Lembergs

Administration of Ventspils Free port has refused to provide a verified copy of the meeting’s protocol to one of the state representatives in the Management Board of the port Girts Kronbergs, thereby delaying the investigation in relation to a possible conflict of interests. The conflict involves Aivars Lembergs, who participated in the November 14 meeting regarding the signing of the contract for the supply of diesel fuel from Baltimar VT, which partially belongs to his son and son-in-law.

Kronbergs was proposed for this position by the Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Edmunds Sprudzs. The position of Lembergs’ loyal Imants Sarmulis was that the verified copy of the protocol is to be submitted to the Transport Ministry (TM), Kronbergs informed Pietiek. Kronbergs noted that he requested the copy both in written and verbal form, as well as in person.

This creates the impression that the port’s administration has chosen a delaying strategy and has coordinated its actions with TM, the management of which, unlike Sprudzs, does not conflict with Lembergs. The latter is currently outside of Latvia, which creates suspicion that his loyal Ventspils officials are merely delaying, so that they would be able to coordinate actions once he returns. This is confirmed by Sarmulis’ and Gunts Blumbergs, who is considered to be Lembergs’ right hand man, avoidance to answer questions asked to both of them in relation to Lembergs’ participation and possible vote in favour of Baltimar VT. Sarmulis said he needs to look at the protocol, while Blumbergs refused to answer, saying in his usual manner: “You’re asking questions, I know nothing of it!”

TM State Secretary Anrijs Matiss, who is also one of the most important Ventspils Free port Board members, told the portal that there is no interplay between TM and Lembergs and “there can never be one.” Like Kronbergs, he admitted that Lembergs did not abstain from the vote on November 14, which is confirmed by the electronic copy of the protocol, which does not have a mark in it saying Lembergs had abstained from the vote.

“[Ventspils Free port administrator] should provide the protocol if asked officially. How can it be that a member of the Board who participated in the meeting and vote cannot acquire the meetings minutes. Why is TM being called into this? If the legally requested documents are not provided, someone has to answer for it,” – said Matiss on November 29. TM also officially requested a verified copy of the meetings minutes, and has yet to receive it.

During a Tuesday and Wednesday meeting of TM and EPRDM consultative discussion, representatives at Ventspils Free port and lawyers of both ministries agreed that the original document or its verified copy of the November 14 meetings minutes is necessary to evaluate the possible Lembergs’ conflict of interests and decide on involving the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (CPCB). This was the condition of TM, the officials of which believe that the electronically received copy of the meetings minutes on November 23 (a common practice) is not enough of to turn to CPCB for assistance.

However, the electronic document suddenly disappeared from the computers of TM officials – this statement was voiced this week on the second consultative meeting between TM and EPRDM officials about the “Lembergs-Baltimar VT case”. When the portal started asking about the disappearance of the minutes on Wednesday, it turned out that it ended up in the TM officials’ e-mail folder tagged “spam”.

According to Matiss, its will be decided on whether or not to turn to CPCB after a full legal assessment. An agreement was reached on the Tuesday’s consultative meeting that state representatives at Ventspils Free port Board will act together in regard to this issue.


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