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Wednesday 19.09.2018 | Name days: Verners, Muntis

Ex-anti corruption bureau chief: to prevent state capture, Lembergs & Co. should be kicked from political arena

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«The work of the parliamentary investigative committee is going nowhere. Everything that happens with it and the people that are invited to testify shows that the same people who serve oligarchs have decided to join in. We can clearly see how talks in this committee and around it are performed. It is a parody,» said former deputy chief of anti-corruption bureau (KNAB) and deputy of the New Conservative Party Juta Strīķe in an interview to BNN.

She continues: «Considering that Aivars Lembergs, who is a central figure in talks, remains active in politics and the ruling coalition, the only way to prevent state capture is kicking all oligarchs and their associated from decision-making processes.»

KNAB was being actively weakened

In regards to the current situation in the country, the deputy said that there are no signs of state capture in Latvia declining, because the same people who held the infamous oligarchs talks remain in power and make decisions.

«No one thought to limit their influence or prohibit them from taking leading posts. Residents understand well that corruption has not gone down at all. And why would it decline if the ruling powers did not want KNAB to be strong. Instead their struck weakened and put all kinds of idiots in charge of the bureau. Even the new chief of KNAB Jēkabs Straume has demonstrated a great degree of obedience before political powers, not the law or principles of justice,» comments Strīķe, adding that KNAB is constantly weakened by politicians from the Saeima, the Cabinet of Ministers and the prosecutor general’s office.

Still, she says there are still people in KNAB who honestly perform their duties. Unfortunately, they are put on such unimportant posts, it is impossible to affect the system.

The institution’s monitoring form is unimportant. KNAB is under the wing of the Cabinet of Ministers. The prosecutor’s office is formed by the Prosecutor General’s Office, whose work – be it investigation or other functions – cannot we influenced by the Saeima, the Cabinet of Ministers or anyone else.

Nevertheless, one thing the two institutions have in common is that chiefs of both of them are picked by the parliament. «This means politicians pick a person approved by oligarchs and the majority of Saeima members. They usually approve the ones who cause no trouble for them. The Prosecutor General’s Office is also a good example of pleasing the ruling powers without answering to the Prime Minister,» Strīķe adds.

She says KNAB is not separate from the political system, because leaders of this institution are picked by politicians. Later on these leaders pick the people like them for important posts.

Lembergs and parties associated with him in a ‘putinist’ pyramid

«From one election to another the generation of ruling politicians does not change – this causes stagnation. The parliament has a very low rating. This means people do not trust politicians. To change something in the system, one has to understand the consequences of voting for Lembergs and the Union of Greens and Farmers,» explains Strīķe.

According to her, Lembergs’ ‘values pyramid’ or party structure is not dissimilar to ‘putinist’ or Soviet power. «The party’s structure has neither democratic principles nor any ways of self-representation. Everything there is based around service and bowing. This think it is not a party – more like a group. People should not vote for those that serve Lembergs, because no one there has ever had their own opinion. Positions of people in that party do not differ from Lembergs.»

Undeveloped oligarchs that «try eating a lot very quickly»

«Changing negative processes is much easier now when compared with other countries, such as Russia, as well as the Soviet Era before independence. We just have to participate in political processes, elections and cast our votes responsibly,» says Strīķe.

«The change of generations purely mechanically is not a panacea. The new generation raised by corruptive traditions of the last generations would not be any better. Be it insolvency administrators in Latvia or newly-grown oligarchs – they all try eating a lot and very quickly. I have noticed in my own experience, younger people in a corrupt system are more dangerous and greedy,» the deputy concluded.

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