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Ceturtdiena 02.04.2020 | Name days: Imgarde, Irmgarde

Latvian ex-state secretary has no plans to take disciplinary case to court

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Ēriks Eglītis, Ralfs Nemiro, Latvenergo, Economy Ministry, suspension, council, MPCEconomy Ministry’s state secretary Ēriks Eglītis, who was suspended from his post, has no plans at the moment to take the disciplinary case to court, as the man confirmed in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Tuesday, 18 February.

«I don’t think this is necessary, because if this disciplinary case is investigated, the conclusion may be that the disciplinary case was a surprising measure – a service inspection would have been enough. The biggest problem that might be found is some small and insignificant delays with review of a specific situation,» said Eglītis, answering the question if he is prepared to take the case to court.

In regards to Economy Minister Ralfs Nemiro’s statement of Monday, 17 February, in which he said he will push the disciplinary case against Eglītis in relation to possible violations of the mandatory procurement component (MPC) supervision at LLC Lielmežotne and turn to law enforcement institutions over possible negligence in monitoring of MPC support, Eglītis said the two should be separated into two separate events of 2018 and 2019, because two years ago there was one kind of regulation and in 2019 it became stricter, which made it easier to make decisions more accurately.

«The coming into force of the final decision is delayed by the possibility of the negative outcome the power plant would likely be forced to shut down even though it has provided heating energy to residents this whole time. Because of that, we were forced to listen to both the municipality and Agriculture Ministry before making the final decision. I would say that postponing of the final decision took place out of objective reasons,» said Eglītis.

He also mentioned that the minister’s decision of 5 February – to suspend him from his post for the duration of the disciplinary case over possible violations committed in MPC monitoring – was made half an hour before Latvenergo shareholders meeting, during which it was planned to decide on the company’s new council.

«The decision was slightly rushed because the minister’s office had somehow missed the fact that this meeting was previously scheduled for 5 February. They only found out about it in the morning, and this prompted a rapid reaction,» says Eglītis, adding that the disciplinary case is splitting hairs.

Read also: Saeima deputies put off vote on final MPC system report; say more time needed

Nemiro had previously told journalists that Economy Ministry was in charge of resoling the MPC problem and the ministry’s state secretary was the administrative supervisor for the whole process.

On 6 January Eglītis was invited to a meeting of the MPC parliamentary investigative committee to provide information. Following the committee’s request to provide information and documents, the state secretary asked for an extension of the submission term. «On 20 January the parliamentary committee sent me a request to assess the state secretary’s actions potentially aimed at stalling for time or submitting misleading and falsified information, and thereby avoid taking responsibility,» said the economy minister. He explained that on 23 January he issued a resolution for Eglītis to provide all information and documents to the committee, but on 24 January the state secretary announced taking a sick leave and also wrote considerable reports to the director of the State Chancellery.

«It seems to me the state secretary has attempted to delay the parliamentary committee’s work for a month. This is unacceptable, because the final report is still in development,» said Nemiro.

There is also the matter of Eglītis not assessing MPC reception by Lielmežotne for one and a half years. Nemiro explained that on 19 December 2019 a decision was made on abolishment of MPC support for Lielmežotne. The company was ordered to pay back EUR 1.6 million to the state. This year Nemiro received a complaint outlining a procedure that does not fit regulations. This is why he decided to ask Eglītis on 16 January to provide a detailed report on this process. He has not received any response.

«It should be concluded that what the state secretary had organized for MPC monitoring and its administration has created a situation when one and a half year has passed between the first warning about a possible abolishment of state support and the approval of the final decision,» said Nemiro, explaining that Lielmežotne was informed of this possibility as far back as 30 June 2018. The minister said that in December 2018 the company had provided the ministry with detailed information even though the Economy Ministry is supposed to make decisions in regards to providing or taking away state support within one month’s time. «For eight months the state secretary, who is responsible for monitoring did nothing, and the company was paid state support possibly illegally,» said Nemiro.

In August 2019 AS Sadales tīkls submitted information to Economy Ministry, detailing Lielmežotne’s failure to comply with regulations. «This means Economy Ministry has been inactive. Only after Sadales tīkls submitted information the process started moving. But again for four months the company was paid state support. Only in December 2019 did the state secretary decide on abolishing support,» said Nemiro.

Lielmežotne later decided to turn to court over this and attempt to overturn Economy Ministry’s decision. Looking at the decision on halting state support in court, the state secretary has failed to provide the court with necessary information and documents in a timely fashion, said the minister.

It should also be added that at the beginning of February Nemiro had Eglītis suspended, as a reason for this he mentioned possible violations in MPC monitoring. Eglītis, on the other hand, said the real reason for his suspension was his refusal to appoint the minister’s advisor Pāvels Rebenoks to the council of Latvenergo.

More on this topic: Continuation of Olainfarm talks: the raiderism of Nemiro’s advisor Rebenoks

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