Latviski English По-русски
Monday 19.08.2019 | Name days: Melānija, Imanta

Financing sports in Ventspils – borrow money under rules but spend how you want

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThis spring, Ventspils City Council released a misleading report that funding of EUR 1.5 million for the construction of a new swimming pool was denied because of the letter sent by opposition deputies to Saeima’s Education, Culture and Science Committee’s Sub-Committee for Sports. In it, opposition deputies question the use of funding allocated for sports. Not it has become known that part of the funding was used in breach of contracts signed with Education and Science Ministry. It is entirely possible that this was the reason why funding was denied, reports.

It should be said that the aforementioned EUR 1.5 million was intended not for the construction of a pool but for the project’s technical development. The project itself is not even started. After looking at the dramatic situation with teachers’ wages, Education and Science Minister Ilga Šuplinska said at the time that ‘the moment we run out of options to support human capital, we put money into construction, into concrete’. The minister explained that sports structures are put on hold until budget affairs have been sorted out, because the explanation that ‘it’s not like teachers are forced to tighten their belts wait, but a building cannot wait’ fell on deaf ears in Ventspils. Additionally construction of sports structures that had already commenced and were close to completion were not put on hold by the ministry.

More than half a million was spent inappropriately

The portal reports that in spite of the fact that the letter sent by opposition deputies mentioned nothing about them being against the swimming pool and rehabilitation centre, the ruling majority in Ventspils City Council decided to immediately use it to mislead residents. stresses:

«No one provided any explanations for the fact that Ventspils uses financing allocated for sports on other activities.»

However, the audit report performed by Latvia’s State Audit for Education and Science Ministry’s annual report paints a different picture. The report admits that in 2018 a considerable portion of the financing allocated for projects in Ventspils was not used in accordance with initially agreed upon plans. More than half a million of the EUR 2 350 000 allocated by Education and Science Ministry was used inappropriately. In 2018, the ministry and Ventspils City Council signed two cooperation contracts and irresponsible use of funding has been observed in both cases.

The money was spent not on the construction of BMX winter sports base, but on track maintenance with hoes and shovels

Based on the audit report, offers a detailed review of what the money was intended for and how the money was used in the end. The portal writes that the audit report offers clarity why Education and Science Ministry will look at investments in Ventspils’ sports objects with a more reserved approach in the future.

The first contract provided for spending EUR 824 968 on a new BMX winter sports base; EUR 194 686 on the construction of BMX summer sports base service building; EUR 46 545 on reconstruction Olympic Centre Ventspils sports hall’s floor and expansion of the weight-lifting hall; EUR 161 057 on new infrastructure and equipment for athletics and soccer stadium. EUR 90 255 was intended for restoration of the swimming pool’s infrastructure.

EUR 232 489 was allocated (and EUR 122 585 was returned by the ministry to the state budget as closed budget assignment) for the construction of a new 50 m swimming pool along with a rehabilitation centre.

According to the requirements of the second contract, EUR 367 499 was intended for the modernization of the basketball hall’s athletic portion, procurement of new equipment and new infrastructure. EUR 131 851 was allocated for the procurement of modern equipment for the ice rink. EUR 300 650 was allocated for the modernization of the athletic and soccer stadium’s tennis court modernization. All objects, specific tasks and funding amounts are listed clearly, explains.

The portal continues: «But according to the report from the State Audit, Ventspils has not done much to follow requirements of those contracts. At least EUR 139 055 of the first contract was used not on the project, but on maintenance of Ventspils Olympic Centre and different services not associated with set objectives. For example, the EUR 33 939 allocated for the upkeep of BMX winter sports base was paid to real estate company Ventspils nekustamie īpašumi, because the company represented Education Office during the implementation of construction projects.»

At least EUR 8 794 was used not for the construction of BMX summer sports base service building, but on maintenance of BMX track, paying for such expensive tools like shovel, hoe, street brush, wooden supports, etc.

At least EUR 22 704 was used not on athletic and soccer stadium’s new infrastructure and equipment, but on maintenance of athletic and soccer stadium, paying for restoration of seats, repairs of the protective fence, repairs of the roof of the storage building, etc. At least EUR 33 334 was spent to maintain Pārventa Sports Complex and EUR 40 284 – on restoration of the water adventure park’s athletic hall. None of these activities were detailed in contracts signed with Education and Science Ministry. This means the ministry has the right to demand repayment of the inappropriately used funds to the state budget, the portal reports.

The State Audit notes that at least EUR 38 236 was spent not on the basketball hall’s modernization or equipment procurement, but on maintenance and different repairs; at least EUR 58 644 was spent on ice hall’s maintenance and repairs, whereas EUR 900 was spent in repairs of athletic track field’s synthetic surface. The audit also revealed that the project On Modernization of Athletic and Soccer Stadium’s Tennis Court, for which EUR 300 650 was allocated, is controversial and unclear. On top of that, it is not clear how exactly the funding was supposed to be used, considering that the athletic and soccer stadium is one piece of infrastructure and tennis courts are another.

Requesting next millions will be problematic explains: «It should be clear now that a considerable portion of state funding was spent on regular economic expenditures, ongoing repairs, etc. This means it is hard to agree with Olympic Centre Ventspils that Ventspils municipality has stayed true to its promises and duties.»

State Audit’s report mentions a large number of violations that will make it harder for Ventspils to request more funding from Education and Science Ministry. State Audit’s report proves that Ventspils opposition deputies’ requests for comprehensive audit of all sports structures in Ventspils are fully justified, concludes.

Leave a reply

EU: Rīgas satiksme cuts Latvian budget fiscal room in 2020 by 72 mln EUR

The Riga city company Rīgas satiksme should, according to European Union criteria, be in included in the general government sector, thus it would cut the fiscal space of the 2020 Latvian state budget by 72 million euros, Finance Ministry stated.

Latvijas Krājbanka’s administrator recovered 542 thousand euros in July

The administrator of the insolvent Latvian bank Latvijas Krājbanka recovered 524 444 euros in July, which is by 75% more than a month earlier, according to the official gazette Latvijas Vēstnesis.

Latvian post-reform administrative centres to have 2 000 - 630 000 populations

After the planned administrative reform of Latvia, the population size of the administrative centres of the new municipalities is expected to vary from 2 000 to 632 000 people, according to a conceptual report by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development.

A week of warm, but changing weather forecast for Latvia

Weather in Latvia this week is expected to be summer-like and warm, with rain expected on Thursday and Friday, according to the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Kabul wedding terror attack committed by Islamic State, the group says

Responsibility for the terror attack in Afghanistan, where explosives killed 63 people. has been claimed by the Afghan branch of the Islamic State terrorist group.

British Gibraltar releases seized Iran oil tanker

An Iranian oil tanker detained by Gibraltar, part of the United Kingdom, has sailed away from port after being allowed to do so despite Washington’s call to detain it again.

BNN summary of the week: Latvia’s biggest budget; PNB Bank halts operations; Latvia sad with Latvia

Some positive news surfaced in Latvia this week – Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš announced that the country’s next budget will be the largest one yet and will exceed EUR 10 billion. In spite of this, however, financial difficulties have been observed – PNB Bank has ended up in a tight spot. The bank’s shortage of funds has forced Finance and Capital Market Commission to halt all of the bank’s financial operations.

Week in Lithuania: PM Skvernelis undergoes surgery, Nausėda meets Merkel, rebukes Latvia

Last week, President Gitanas Nausėda rejected the government’s candidate for EU judge, hints of big changes at Šiaulių Bankas ahead

Independent Deputies Faction joins forces with Honour to Serve Riga

Riga City Council’s Independent Deputies Faction has signed a cooperation agreement with Honour to Serve Riga political party, pledging support for the party’s mayoral candidate Oļegs Burovs, as LETA was told by the faction’s leader Valērijs Petrovs on Monday, 18 August.

Saeima’s MPC investigation committee requests information on every issued license

The parliamentary committee formed to investigate the mandatory procurement component has requested access to information regarding every issued MPC license and decision made by officials in regards to this field, says the committee’s representative Ilze Vanaga.

Latvian athlete receives two-year disqualification

Former Latvian long jumper Ineta Radeviča has received a two-year disqualification, as confirmed by International Association of Athletics Federation’s Athletics Integrity Unit.

Minister: state budget funds will not be used to compensate PNB Bank’s clients

The Deposit Guarantee Fund is sufficient to pay compensations to affected PNB Bank clients. This means not a cent from Latvia’s state budget will be used, said Latvia’s Finance Minister Jānis Reirs in a telephone conversation with public broadcaster LTV programme Rīta Panorāma on Friday, 16 August.

Estonia to invest 22 million in construction of a new TV house

Estonian government has set aside EUR 22 million for the construction of a new public television building, as reported by Estonian public media ERR.

Another one falls – Latvian FCMC halts PNB Bank’s operations

Operations of PNB Bank [formerly Norvik Banka] have been halted in Latvia, as confirmed by Finance and Capital Market Commission.

Unemployment index in Latvia drops – rate down to 6.4% in Q2

In Q2 2019 Latvian unemployment rate constituted 6.4 %. Compared to the previous quarter, unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points, and compared to the rate recorded a year ago, it dropped by 1.3 percentage points.

64.7% of Latvia’s population reportedly employed in Q2 2019

905.6 thousand people or 64.7 % of Latvia’s population aged 15–74 were employed in Q2 2019.

Lithuanian Conservatives’ tensions: can the party split?

The Conservative Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD) have risen to unseen heights lately – although in the opposition now, in 2016 parliamentary election the party racked up a record support in its 30 years’ history.

Minister: Latvia’s social budget surplus has reached one billion

The surplus of the state social budget has come close of the pre-crisis level – EUR 1 billion, said Latvian Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama on 15 August.

Riga City Council permitted to elect mayor after two-month deadline

In spite of the fact that 21 August will mark two months of Riga City Council working without a mayor, a condition that permits Latvia’s Saeima to dismiss the entire city council, deputies of the municipality will nonetheless have the right to elect a mayor after the deadline, says Environment Protection Minister Juris Pūce’s advisor for legal affairs Valdis Verners.

Lithuanian president unhappy with Latvia’s decision to purchase energy from Belarus

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has voiced sadness over Latvia’s decision to purchase electrical energy produced at Astravets nuclear power plant in Belarus not far from the Lithuanian border. He admits, however, that this decision was not unexpected for him.

State Real Estate claims ReRe Būve 1 may be trying to circumvent the law

Construction company Rere Būve 1 publicly voices desire to continue implementing the construction contract. However, the construction company’s submitted work schedule for reconstruction of New Riga Theatre has everything changed – volume of work, terms and budget, Latvian State Real Estate reports.

Lithuanian mountaineer dies climbing French Alps

Lithuanian 38-year-old mountaineer Vytautas Mažeika died in a 50 m fall in the French Alps, Lithuanian public media LRT reports with reference to

Estonia decides to reform pension system; increase not promised

Helir-Valdor Seeder, leader of Estonian coalition party Isamaa, has confirmed that the government has agreed on his proposed pension reform, as reported by Estonian public media ERR.

Ruling party in Lithuania promises national agreement for education affairs

While more and more small town schools close down in Lithuania, the leader of the ruling party promises a «national agreement» for education affairs, as reported by Lithuanian public media LRT.

Viesturs Zeps’ has yet to convince NCP and Unity to support him as mayoral candidate

Mayoral candidate in Riga Viesturs Zeps still has not convinced New Conservative Party and Unity to support him, according to what he said in an interview to public broadcaster LTV programme Rīta panorama on Thursday, 15 August.