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Friday 21.02.2020 | Name days: Eleonora, Ariadne

Information about VDD new office building’s construction costs is a state secret

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VDD, building, construction, plan, cycling track, MarssAlthough some media have mentioned different amounts of money the construction of a new office for the State Security Service (VDD) at the location of former Marss cycling track may cost, the service reports that this information is considered a state secret.

State Real Estate (VNI) representative Inta Plūmiņa said in accordance with VDD public statement about the use of the piece of land any additional information about it can be provided only by the user – VDD.

The order issued by the government in relation to this project’s implementation in August 2017 is binding for VNI as a state company and it has reported all information the company is permitted to disclose.

On Thursday, 23 January, VDD declared that information related to the building project is classified in accordance with the Law on Official Secrets.

Part of the information previously made a secret in relation public interest over the piece of land picked for the new building for VDD was declassified and reported to the media in a press-statement on 22 January. Other information related to the project is classified. This is why VDD is not able to provide comments.

«We would like to point out that VDD understands and respects society’s desire to develop the city environment. However, finding a solution that would satisfy everyone is very had in this complicated situation, and it is VDD’s duty to act in accordance with interests of national security,» the service noted.

VDD deputy chief Ēriks Cinkuss told TV3 News that there was no real choice for VDD’s new location.

The service was offered two options – build on the territory of the former Marss cycling track or use the building of the former Light industry technical building, which does not have the necessary area and surrounding perimeter.

Cinkuss explained VDD is an operative response institution that needs to be prepared for a rapid response to different threats, which means the service should be far away from Riga’s centre.

Although many residents have voiced concern and confusion as to why VDD would build its new building within the line of sight of surrounding buildings, which would make it easy for people from apartments to observe vehicles and people coming and going, Cinkuss said the building’s technical engineering solution will provide a good degree of secrecy for the goings on inside the building.

«On the other hand, if we look at Riga’s map, we will not find a single location that would provide us cover from peering eyes and also allow us to remain mobile and able to react,» said Cinkuss.

Interior Affairs Ministry’s parliamentary secretary Signe Bole said she is not authorized to comment the topic of the building’s project. Nevertheless, she allowed that minister Sandis Ģirģens may present his opinion after returning from Croatia next week.

Ģirģens and Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns are away taking part in an informal meeting of the EU Justice and Interior Affairs Ministers Council in Croatia.

On 23 January Bordāns allowed in an interview to Latvijas Radio that the construction of VDD office building on the territory of the former Marss cycling track may cost more than EUR 30 million. In the evening of the same day New Conservative Party released a statement in which, referencing public information, the party mentioned the interior affairs sector has found funding worth nearly EUR 50 million to finance the construction of the new VDD building.

As previously reported, the plan to establish a park in the location of the former Marss cycling track will not come to pass as it is planned to instead use the territory for the construction of a new office for VDD.

The decision regarding the construction of a new VDD building in this location was made in 2017. Construction is set to commence this year.

VDD needs a new building because currently the service is spread across multiple buildings and the premises in use are in poor state.

In 2008 the Cabinet of Ministers decided it is necessary to build a new building for VDD. However, the next year this plan was put on hold because of the financial crisis.

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