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Wednesday 20.02.2019 | Name days: Smuidra, Vitauts, Smuidris
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Auditor: we cannot allow sense of impunity to swallow our country

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«The number of violations uncovered by State Audit and later sent to law enforcement institutions and courts of justice has grown considerably in recent years. Not all cases in which state officials use state or municipal resources irresponsibly are considered crimes worth investigating,» says Latvia’s State Auditor Elita Krūmiņa.

She continues: «Institutions have to perform their own inspections in accordance with laws. We have noticed that officials caught wasting administrative resources are rarely ordered to compensate those losses. Too often people responsible for such violations are provided with verbal warnings or are fired from their jobs. In many cases institutions take too long to review specific cases. Enforcement of losses is often not considered at all.»

She underlines: «This is why it is no surprise there is belief in society that the people responsible for wasting state finances are never punished and losses are never recovered. This is the way things are. Because institutions do not enforce losses from the workers responsible for wasting them, it is necessary to increase State Audit’s authority to perform enforcement of losses caused to the state or municipalities as a result of illegal activities.»

The state auditor mentioned the recently discussed law amendments. Approval or rejection of those amendments has been delayed for two years. «Amendments to not include enforcement of loses not uncovered during audits. Enforcement of losses will be decided only if the institution in question does not address this matter voluntarily.»

Sergejs Dolgopolovs comments on the long review period: «It is best to have the Saeima argue for a long time to make a good decision than to rush things and make the wrong one. We’ve had longer periods of being unable to make the right decision.»

«Attempts to criticize State Audit’s desire to investigate, punish and enforce losses do not hold water. If the State Audit makes decisions on enforcement of losses, its decision will become subject to court control in accordance with the Administrative Process Law. Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, State Revenue Service and Food and Veterinary Service already do this: investigate and make decisions regarding application of punishments. Decisions made by those institutions, just like State Audit’s, will be subjected to court control,» explains Krūmiņa.

The state auditor says: «We are not asking for new penalties or new regulations, as certain Saeima committee members decided to interpret it. What we want is for existing laws to be complied with. People responsible for wasting resources entrusted to them should be made to pay for those loses from their own pocket – as the law already requires it. If we notice regulations do not function efficiently, they have to be improved in the interest of society.»

«If we truly want everyone working with state and municipal property to work honestly and be held accountable for their actions, amendments to the State Audit Law should be supported. This is a choice every one of us has to make, including Saeima deputies and organizations representing interests of municipalities,» says Krūmiņa.

«We do not want and cannot allow the sense of impunity to swallow our country,» she concluded.


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