Latviski English По-русски
Saturday 25.05.2019 | Name days: Junora, Anšlavs

Justice can wait; Latvia’s Saeima puts off vote on deputy’s criminal prosecution

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOn 15 May, Saeima’s Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee agreed to give deputies time to go through materials of the case and make up their minds on whether or not to permit criminal prosecution of Saeima deputy Atis Zakatistovs (KPV LV) during the 5 June meeting of the parliament.

The first time the committee discussed this matter was 25 April, but decision-making was postponed because the prosecutor could not attend the meeting. The committee viewed this matter again 16 May and decided to give deputies time to study materials of the case, thereby postponing decision-making yet again. The committee wants the Saeima to view this matter 6 June.

Committee’s chairperson Janīna Kursīte-Pakule explains that after going through materials of the case and looking at it in a broader context together with previous cases, it was decided to permit deputies to study restricted access documents. The state prosecution has not voiced any objections or requests to review this matter quickly. Members of the committee voiced proposals to hold the vote right then and there, and then submit this matter to the next Saeima meeting. However, only one deputy supported this proposal, said Kursīte-Pakule.

When asked if it is right for Zakatistovs to participate in presidential elections in this situation, the politician said: ‘I do not think it would be right to accuse Zakatistovs or anyone else of committing any crime before a verdict is reached by a court of justice.’

The main portion of the discussion took place behind closed doors. Initially multiple parliamentarians asked several questions to prosecutor Māris Urbāns during the open portion of the meeting. However, many of the questions were related to the case of another Saeima deputy – Juris Jurašs. Parliamentarian and ex-Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) officer Juta Strīķe asked questions related to the terms of the case and if there are plans to carry out an investigation after raising charges. Urbāns said the main points of the case are clear, adding that it is now important to gather additional evidence. Strīķe also asked if Urbāns plans to go on vacation this summer. The prosecutor refused to answer the question, but asked if he has rights for a rest. Strīķe responded to this by saying that this means Urbāns will go on vacation while Jurašs’ and Zakatistovs’ cases stay in his office collecting dust.

She also asked if anyone is influencing Urbāns’ independence. The prosecutor said that he has not felt any pressure from the heads in the prosecutor’s office. He did admit, however, that there is psychological pressure. The prosecutor did not comment on this further.

Parliamentarian Linda Ozola noted that in the matter regarding Zakatistovs’ criminal case they cannot ignore the case against Jurašs, which has yet to make its way to a court of justice. Ozola stressed that in such cases it is necessary for cases to end up in courts as soon as possible. Urbāns countered this by saying the case is not being artificially delayed.

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) had previously requested the prosecutor’s office to raise charges against Zakatistovs and businessman Viesturs Tamužs for fraud in large amount. The prosecutor’s office then turned to the Saeima with a request to permit Zakatistovs’ criminal prosecution. The Prosecutor General’s Office has already decided to prosecute Tamužs for fraud in large amount. Both Zakatistovs and Tamužs deny charges. Zakatistovs explained to journalists that accusations of fraud are unjustified because he had provided consultations to Eco Baltica Grupa regarding waste management matters in the European Union.

During a press conference on 14 May, Zakatistovs presented a compilation of documents for the period of time between 1 June 2016 and 31 May 2017 regarding consultation contracts between company Per Capita and Eco Baltia Grupa. Documents detailed number of specific contracts, as well as topics on which consultations were provided. For example, consultations were provided on European Commission’s position on waste management sector’s competition and regulatory affairs, internationally recognized waste management research quality assessments and requirements, as well as change management consultations regarding EU directives.

The Constitution of the Republic of Latvia states that it is not allowed to commence criminal prosecution of Saeima deputy without consent from the parliament itself. If law enforcement institutions ask the Saeima permission to commence criminal prosecution of one of its members, this matter is first viewed by the Mandates Committee, which then prepares a decision project the Saeima can then tackle.

Leave a reply

Riga Tourism Development Bureau gets «new» management

Guntars Grīnvalds, who until now worked as board member, has been approved as the new chairman of Riga Tourism Development Bureau. Ieva Lasmane has been picked as a new board member. Resignations from Maksims Tolstojs and the detailed Vita Jermoloviča have also been accepted.

Statistics: the older a person, the lonelier that person is

17 % of the population aged 75 and over mentioned that during the last month have felt lonely all or most of the time, while such an assessment among younger people aged 25–34 was given ten times less frequently.

Opinion: oligarchs’ wallet won’t work in Latvia’s first open presidential election

The President of the Republic of Latvia may be an opportunity for Aivars Lembergs, who is accused of committing serious crimes, to receive a pardon in case the court finds him guilty in the criminal process that has been continuing for years.

Video: British Prime Minister announces stepping down on June 7

The head of the British government, Theresa May, listened to pressure from her own Conservative Party and announced plant to resign on June 7 without reaching the Brexit compromise she was aiming for.

Justice Minister says Latvia’s government will not exist without his party

Without New Conservative Party, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš’s government would cease to exist, said the leader of NCP and Latvia’s Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Friday, 24 May.

Estonian electricity grid operator enters deal to join European network

Estonian electricity and gas network operator Elering has signed the agreement to become part of the synchronous electricity network of Continental Europe together with Latvia and Lithuania.

Many EU citizens not allowed to vote in UK

During the European Parliament’s elections in the United Kingdom, many citizens from other European Union member states have been turned away at polling stations.

Baltic railway carriers desire open market for free competition

«Attempts to commence cross-border cooperation with private carriers of neighbouring Baltic States are impeded in order to preserve dependence on services of state railway companies,» said Baltic Express director Māris Bremze after a meeting between heads of Baltic private railway carriers.

Heads of Latvian Railway lose Latvian State Railway Administration’s trust

Latvia’s State Railway Administration has sent a letter to Transport Ministry and Latvian Railways. In it they ask the government to «evaluate behaviour of LDz leading officials – Edvīns Bērziņš and Aivara Strakšas – in writing an application containing false information and thereby organizing a discrediting campaign against State Railway Administration».

Stoltenberg expresses NATO’s full readiness to react to Russian cyberattacks

NATO stood ready to respond to cyber attacks from Russia and other possible adversaries with all its capabilities, the Secretary General of the alliance has stated.

Weather becomes cooler in Latvia; meteorologists promise warmth will return

On Friday, 24 May, an atmospheric front will pass through Latvia, causing cloudy weather, rain and thunderstorms in eastern portions of the country.

Eco Baltia concerned about possible complications in waste management procurement in Riga

Eco Baltia supervisory board has voiced no-confidence to the concern’s environment management company Eco Baltia vide’s board members Māris Simanovičs and Jānis Aizbalts over the decision to found CREB Riga together with public waste management service provider Clean R.

Study: 50.6% of enterprises view Latvia’s business-related legislative environment negatively

Latvia’s business-related legislation is poor to very poor, according to 50.6% of interviewed entrepreneurs. Only 19.2% view legislation as either very good or more or less good, according to Turība University’s Business Index.

Lithuania: Nausėda and Šimonytė set to square off in Sunday’s runoff election

The nail-biter presidential election will produce late Sunday a new host of the presidential palace in Vilnius’ Daukantas square for next five years, but which of two candidates will be there, now only God knows.

Political carousel. Survey of Latvian political parties aiming for EP elections

Although Latvia will have eight seats in the European Parliament, there are 249 candidates from 16 political parties. If you have yet to make a choice who is worthy of representing Latvia and the country’s interests it is worth looking into party leaders told BNN news portal in regards to their political priorities.

25% Estonian voters have voted days before European elections

Estonian voters have been active in early and online voting as a total of 25,4% of eligible voters have taken part in the European Parliament’s elections. The election days in the Baltic states are on Saturday or Sunday depending on the country.

Producer prices in industry in Latvia grow 3.8% in April

Compared to April 2018, average level of producer prices in Latvian industry increased by 3.8 % in April 2019. The level of prices of products sold on the domestic market rose by 6.0 % and that of exported products – by 1.8 %.

Latvia’s Prime Minister proposes assessing governance of EP elections once they are done

The current state of European Parliament elections in Latvia suggests there is a need to assess governance immediately after their end, said Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš.

System malfunction limits voting freedom for Latvian voters

Malfunctions have been observed in the online data exchange system used by election sites in Latvia to for European Parliament elections. This is why it is no longer possible for residents to vote at any election site, limiting their voting options to the election sites they are registered with, as explained by the Central Election Commission.

European elections start with polls in Netherlands and UK

Polls in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom launched the elections for the European Parliament, starting four days of voting across the 28-nation bloc.

Latvian Saeima forms investigative committee to study MPC system

On Thursday, 23 May, Latvia’s Saeima accepted the decision to form a special investigative committee to study mandatory procurement component system.

Drivers in Latvia no longer have to have their driver’s license on them

23 May marks the coming into force of amendments to the Road Traffic Law that allow drivers to not carry their vehicle’s registration licence and their driver’s licence on them at all times as long as they have a passport or eID with them, as explained by Road Safety Directorate.

Ukraine’s Zelenskiy appoints screenwriter and TV studio CEO to his staff

Ukraine’s new President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has appointed his staff including the screenwriter and executive director of his Kvartal 95 television production studio.

State Security Service has yet to observe foreign influence over EP elections in Latvia

Latvia’s State Security Service has yet to receive any information regarding any direct and systematic attempts to influence European Parliament elections in Latvia. SSS also has no information regarding any vote-buying cases, the service reports.

British PM pressured to resign as another government member quits

Voicing opposition to the new Brexit plan, another member of the British government, increasing pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May either to step down or to be removed from office.

Newest comments