bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Saturday 15.12.2018 | Name days: Jana, Johanna, Hanna
LatviaLatvia

Latvia’s State Audit sees options for saving millions in real estate management

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn Latvia’s State Audit’s opinion Interior Affairs Ministry and Provision State Agency have not organized sufficient and efficient management of their owned real estate property. Inappropriate and unplanned use of funding allocated for the construction of firefighters depot, use of state property for private needs, disorganized allocation of apartments to officials, lack of appropriate rent fees and planning are but some of the problems uncovered during the audit.

«Enough time was provided to sort out management of real estate properties. Instead of results, however, we see irrational planning, waste of money allocated with intention of improving firefighters’ day-to-day environment, favourable treatment of high-rank officials, unauthorized use of space intended for the firefighters’ depot for needs of a hunting club, as well as provision of low rent fees for use of apartments. Such double standards should be prevented to make sure society does not lose its trust in state administration,» said State Auditor Elita Krūmiņa.

Could’ve saved three million euros

The state auditor says the largest amount of funding was allocated for the renovation of State Fire and Rescue Service’s depot. «Unfortunately the use of this funding has not been sufficiently efficient or economic so far. SFRS’ construction initiatives received no sufficient control from Interior Affairs Ministry. As a result, the depots were too large. Some of their rooms are not used to their full potential. Building maintenance costs are also too high.»

Proper construction planning of the six depots could have helped save at least EUR 2.8 million, State Audit notes.

«Lack of standard construction projects proves inefficiency. This approach would have benefitted depot construction. Another problem is the fact that SFRS’ developed technical goals included two times more construction workers than was necessary, even though there are no plans to increase the number of workers. Had the depot rooms been planned rationally with allocated funding in mind, more depots could have been built in Latvia. Unfortunately, none of the territories that suffer from low efficiency of SFRS were included in the construction plans, demonstrating the glaring lack of proper management of real estate properties,» as concluded by State Audit.

Firefighters and rescuers forced to wash work apparel at home

State Audit mentions that a situation when funding allocated for depot construction was used solely for construction work and not for procurement of equipment, furniture and necessary machineries. «Firefighters and rescuers are not even provided with important facilities like work apparel washing and drying machines. There are rooms intended for them, but no equipment to put in them. Firefighters and rescuers of Ērgļi depot are forced to wash their work apparel at home. Kitchen equipment for Ape depot was procured by firefighters without state support.»

The allocated EUR 11.5 million were enough to build only some of the planned depots. Because of that, it is now necessary to search for additional funding to commence construction of fire and rescue depots in Riga and Daugavpils. The real priorities become clear when you consider that more than EUR 2 million of the allocated funding was not used for construction of depots or improvement of firefighters’ and rescuers’ work conditions in the countryside. Instead this money was used for the construction of a new administrative building in Riga region, State Audit reports.

Ķeipene depot managed by a hunting club

The audit also revealed that illegal activities were performed with sate property in Ogre, Ķeipene County. Specifically, the State Fire and Rescue Service’s depot was being used for different hunting-related activities. No lease agreements are signed and no lease fees are paid for use of premises.

Since 2009, Plauži hunting club has been registered at Ķeipene firefighters depot’s address. Its chairman is the director of Fire Safety and Civil Defence College. The contact telephone number is the same as the official work phone number of the chief of SFRS Financial Planning Office. Several high-ranking SFRS officials were well-informed about this situation. During the audit, however the address and contact number of the hunting club were changed. Nevertheless, the State Audit has turned to Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau.

Three times more expensive for cadets

The audit revealed that interior affairs sector’s apartments are leased at least partially from the state budget. Some tenants, including one high-rank SFRS official, are provided with more favourable rent fee contracts than other tenants. Cadets of the Fire Safety and Civil Protection College are charged rent per 1 m2, which is nearly three times higher than the rent fee for the deputy chief of SFRS.

Lack of proper monitoring and planning

The portfolio of real estate properties owned by the interior affairs sector is expansive. The majority of them are in a critical state, and funding for their maintenance is limited. Because of that, it is important to secure a unified development look.


Leave a reply

Experts: fiscal consolidation is unavoidable next year

The new government will have to perform fiscal consolidation when compiling the state budget for 2019. This opinion was sent to the Saeima and Cabinet of Ministers by the Fiscal Discipline Council in relation to the 13th Saeima’s approval of amendments for the Healthcare Law that provide for a 20% wage increase for doctors starting next.

Ventspils opposition: the Constitution stands above municipality’s opinions on city governance

«For us to work to our full capacity, we require information and stay in the loop. If the work of the city council was organized during meetings of the city council and committees, we would have this opportunity. But because the work of the city council is put under other institutions – committees, in this case – and we [majority of opposition deputies] are not allowed to participate in those meetings and receive documents, this means our rights as deputies and voters are being limited. This, we believe, is the most important aspect to be breached,» said Ventspils City Council opposition deputy Aivis Landmanis said during a hearing of the Administrative Court in Liepaja in regards to Ventspils City Council’s refusal to adopt proportionality principles in committees and other structures.

EU offers Britons clarification, but no renegotiation of Brexit deal

European Union member state leaders and the blocs top officials have stated at a summit with British Prime Minister Theresa May, that the Brexit withdrawal agreement that lacks clear support in UK parliament was not open for renegotiation.

Estonia raises minimum wage

The minimum monthly wage in Estonia has been approved at the level of 540 euros, which is an increase from 500 euros.

This year e-signature was used to sign more than 5.7 million documents in Latvia

This year, e-signature was used more than half a million times a month in Latvia. A total of 5.7 million documents have been signed using this function in Latvia so far. More than 25,000 now use e-signature function on their smart-phones.

Trump distances himself from crimes committed by his lawyer

Reacting to the conviction of American lawyer Michael Cohen over campaign funding violations, U.S. President Donald Trump has distanced himself from the lawyer and accused him of attempts to embarrass Trump.

New Unity starts consultations with parties on forming government with Kariņš in charge

New Unity will insist on getting Finance Ministry in the new government, because it is only logical to have this ministry managed by the prime minister’s party, says NU representative and Saeima deputy Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš.

Strasbourg terrorist «neutralised» after opening fire on police

The attacker suspected of killing two people and injuring 12 more people at a Strasbourg Christmas market has been shot dead by French police.

Next week in Latvia to start off with snowfall

The end of the week is not expected to have any major weather changes in Latvia, whereas next week will start off with snowfall and gradual decline of air temperature, promises Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Court arrests Harmony sponsor and Honour to Serve Riga party member

Riga City Vidzeme District Court issued an arrest to businessman Aleksandrs Krjačeks on Thurday, 13 December. He was previously detained by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau in the criminal case regarding procurements organized by SIA Rīgas satiksme, as confirmed by the man’s lawyer Valdis Ulmanis.

Saeima: increase of doctors’ wages should be a government priority

When preparing the budget plan for the next three years, the government should allocate money for the 20% increase of doctors’ wages. This is provided by changes to Healthcare Financing Law, approved by the Saeima in two readings on Thursday, 13 December.

airBaltic to perform more flights between Riga and Liepaja

During a visit today in Liepaja CEO of Latvian airline airBaltic Martin Gauss announced that airBaltic will increase the number of domestic flights between Riga and Liepaja from three to five weekly as of summer season 2019.

Court arrests Škoda commercial director; CPCB request arrests for two more people

Latvian court has arrested Škoda commercial director Vladislav Kozak following a request from Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau in relation to the criminal case regarding procurements performed by Rīgas satiksme.

EY: investments in crypto currency offers have largely failed

86% of 141 initial crypto currency offers presented last year have lost value over the course of the first eight months of this year. Additionally 30% of them have lost nearly all of their value, according to Initial Coin Offerings study by EY.

Estonian criminal figure convicted in Ireland

A court in Ireland has convicted Estonian criminal figure Imre Arakas, finding him guilting of conspiracy to murder.

As income increase, housing becomes more accessible in all Baltic capitals

Housing Accessibility Index improved in all Baltic capitals in Q3 2018. The main factor for this was the growth of average net salaries. Additionally, beneficial economic development also improved households’ interest for housing acquisition, which was reflected both in increased activity on the apartment market and household loan portfolio growth.

Lithuanian PM suspects Kremlin-backed opposition behind teacher attacks

The nearer municipal council, presidential and EP elections, the more sparkles Lithuania’s political leadership spews out. With the linguistic weaponry exhausted in the Seimas, the party leaders seek help from intelligence services.

EP proposes stricter monitoring of militants returning to Europe to combat terrorism better

The European Parliament has presented proposals for better measures against radicalization, better data exchange and support of victims of terrorism, as well as several other proposals for European Union’s strategy for terrorism prevention.

Latvian media organizations found Media Ethics Council

On Wednesday, 12 December, Latvian Media Ethics Council was founded. It is a public organization meant to unite media organizations and legal persons associated with the media sector and supervise compliance with the council’s statutes and code of ethics, the council explains.

U.S. President's former lawyer sentenced to prison

The former personal attorney of U.S. President Donald Trump has been handed a prison sentence for violations of the rules of election campaign. A New York court has sentenced Michael Cohen to three years in federal prison.

Latvian parties hear New Unity leader’s offer; opinions on coalition still differ

Political parties in Latvia are prepared to listen to New Unity and its prime minister candidate Krišjāņis Kariņš’s initiative in the government formation process.

British PM stays after no-confidence vote, attends EU summit

British Prime Minister Theresa May has survived a no-confidence vote in her ruling Conservative Party and on Thursday attends a summit of the European Union.

European Parliament ratifies EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

On Wednesday, 12 December, gave green light for EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which is EU’s all-time largest mutual trade agreement.

Businessman Māris Martinsons brought to court. What will the court decide?

Businessman Māris Martinsons has been brought to testify in court. As it is known, he was detained by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau on 11 December.

Employers become more open to 3rd level pension contributions

Employers in Latvia have begun making more active contributions to 3rd level pension plans. Residents’ interest towards crating pension savings continues growing, too. Compared to the period of last year, the size of contributions to private pension funds has increased 10% in the first nine months of 2018.

Newest comments