bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Saturday 25.05.2019 | Name days: Junora, Anšlavs
LatviaLatvia

KNAB checks Latvian Railways’ wall project – half a million spent but there is no wall

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUCorruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has commenced an investigation in relation to the protective wall project near Šķirotava railway station in Riga – Latvian Railway (LDz) has partially paid for the project, but the firm in charge of it has simply transferred the money to some company in Hong Kong, as reported by public broadcaster TV3 programme Nekā personīga.

Six years ago, LDz signed a contract with private firm Composite Constructions for the construction of a noise-dampening protective wall in Latvia, Šķirotava railway station. LDz transferred to the company EUR 500,000 as an advance payment but there is still no wall and the owner of the private firm has disappeared, the programme found out.

The project was originally launched when Ugis Magonis was still in charge of LDz. At the time, the now board chairman of LDz Edvīns Bērziņš, who has recently received a great deal of bashing from Latvia’s Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits, was a board member in the company. The partner for the project, curiously enough, was selected without a public tender.

Bērziņš told Nekā personīga that he remembers the meeting during which development director, then the manager of Railway Engineering Association Māris Riekstiņš, presented the project, stressing that no one suspected a thing at the time.

Riekstiņš notes that talks were held with different specialists and someone recommended Composite Constructions, which had experience working with innovative materials.

It was planned that the wall would cost EUR 1.5 million and half of this amount would be covered by the European Union. Jump several years forward – the project has not commenced and Composite Constructions does not provide explanations how the EUR 540,000 was spent. LDz did turn to State Police, but no signs of a crime were found. The decision made by State Police was not appealed in the prosecutor’s office.

According to Bērziņš, police explained that the company has sufficient finances and is economically active. Because of that, LDz will ask the company to either do its job or return the money.

Nekā personīga found out that most of the money transferred to Composite Constructions to two Hong Kong-based firms. The names of those firms imply they work with nano-technology and trade. One of them – Nanotech Industrial Engineering, which received EUR 328,825.68, was liquidated in March 2019. The other company – Inco Trading International Limited – was transferred EUR 198,100.

Last year, LDz was forced to pay back the money allocated for the sound wall project by the European Union. In autumn 2018, a request was put to commence Composite Constructions’ insolvency procedure.

Four years have passed since LDz concluded in an audit that there are problems with the project. When governance of the company was taken over by an insolvency administrator, there was no longer any money left on its accounts. Insolvency administrator Andrejs Voroncovs found it strange that the company was picked without holding a public tender and was able to receive funding from LDz. This is why he turned to KNAB, the programme reports.

Voroncovs said he believes there is no way the board of LDz had no idea about this situation and their behaviour in response to it was inappropriate. In relation to Composite Constructions’ former board member Andrejs Žagars’ and the only member’s actions he will turn to State Police, as for actions taken by LDz, he will turn to KNAB.

The administrator also mentioned that LDz should not be considered Composite Constructions’ creditor, but LDz disagreed and turned to court. The court ruled in favour of LDz, but the administrator later appealed the ruling in the Prosecutor General’s Office.

According to Voroncovs, LDz «fought for the creditor’s status to avoid responsibility for certain officials». LDz chairman Bērziņš is confident employees of the company who were responsible for the contract acted responsibly.

At the same time, the programme has found out that in another matter Competition Council and European Commission have launched cases on possible violations committed by LDz. Competition Council member Jānis Račko explained that LDz and its subsidiary have exclusive rights to carry freights on specific routes. There are concerns regarding companies possibly abusing their positions on the market and applying excessive tariffs and possibly pushing out competitors from the market.

Only a handful of companies in Latvia carry freights on the railway – LDz subsidiary LDz Cargo and two other private firms. However, LDz Cargo is the only company allowed to carry freights on the small portion of railway from Latvia’s border with Russia and Belarus all the way to LDz hubs in Daugavpils and Rezekne. It is not possible carry freights in Latvia without passing through these hubs. This is why LDz Cargo is able to influence the entire freight-carrying business, says Nekā personīga.

State Railway Administration’s director Juris Iesalnieks reveals that efforts are being performed to convince European Commission that there is no need to interfere and that Latvia can resolve the problem on its own.

As previously reported, on Tuesday, 7 May, Linkaits publicly bashed the board of LDz, proposing its dismissal.


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