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Friday 23.08.2019 | Name days: Valgudis, Ralfs, Vitālijs

Latvian police official suspected of misusing funds on private BMX circuit

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUInternal Security Bureau suspects State Police official Armands Možeiko of using police resources on construction of a private BMX circuit – the sport discipline in which Možeiko train in, as reported by TV3 programme Nekā Personīga.

Internal Security Bureau believes that for a long period of time Možeiko has been using his official post, police vehicles and police officers at the circuit. The bureau told the programme that cash worth several dozen thousand euros was found during a search in Možeiko’s home. The investigation continues.

In 2016, BMX Ādaži sports club turned to Ādažu County Council. This association proposed the county council to provide it with rights to freely use a plot of land in a degraded territory. This is where the BMX circuit would be built.

The ten-year contract was signed by BMX Ādaži sports club board member. However, all work legally and in practice was done by Latvian State Police official Možeiko.

The county council considered this deal a benefit because they believe that with one move they managed to develop previously degraded territory and establish a leisure park the council would not have to pay to maintain, Nekā Personīga investigative journalists say.

Ādaži County Council CEO Guntis Porietis recalls that Možeiko had attended meetings of the council during which officials discussed the topic of handing over the aforementioned plot of land. Landscaping work was to be performed in three stages under the condition for the BMX circuit to be done in 2022.

The most active work there took place in summer 2018. Možeiko activities there were no secret – he can be seen in photos posted on BMX Ādaži and Facebook. The association’s board member Ģirts Lūsis told Nekā Personīga that Možeiko wanted to be put in charge of the circuit because his sons are engaged in BMX sports.

Internal Security Bureau has found out in the investigation that at least three police drivers were employed at the BMX circuit when they were supposed to be on shift. Additionally, police vehicles were used for circuit needs from time to time. Možeiko used police cars to travel to Ādaži in order to settle affairs associated with the sports park.

Internal Security Bureau detained Možeiko at the end of March. The attempt to arrest him failed – he was released the next day in exchange for bail of EUR 20,000.

Možeiko has been with Latvia’s interior affairs sector since 1990. His responsibilities included procurement of new arms, uniforms and vehicles for police needs. Lt. Col. Možeiko says he does not know who and how used Bobcat at the circuit, and that police officers’ involvement in the construction of the circuit was their free choice.

The criminal process was launched in accordance with police official’s abuse of status and possible document forgery. Možeiko says – if police requests compensating the cost of fuel he had used on his private trips to Ādaži, he is prepared to pay.

«What I do is for the benefit of society – I gain nothing from it. There is no ulterior motive,» Možeiko told the programme.

Internal Security Bureau stresses that the investigation has only just begun. There are many unanswered questions.

Journalists say Možeiko’s name was mentioned in previous police procurements. The biggest one was the car procurement, when the winner of the tender tried cheating the police by supplying vehicles whose engine emissions did not comply with specified requirements. In the so-called Euro 6 Saga Možeiko was suspended as the contact person. A service investigation revealed that Možeiko had no way of knowing the supplier’s documents were forged. He was then reinstated.

Latvia’s new Interior Affairs Minister Sandis Ģirģens says he will not tolerate dishonest people. If Možeiko’s guilt is proven, State Police Chief Ints Ķuzis will have to answer.

Internal Security Bureau’s chief Valters Mūrnieks agrees with the minister. For years his bureau has been catching police officers stealing fuel. In the most recent case the loss of fuel was critical – five tonnes of fuel had disappeared at the Police College.

«Unfortunately, the internal security system leaves a lot to be desired. We have seen countless fuel theft cases, and now this. It is worth mentioning that in one of our investigated cases we have uncovered the loss of more than five tonnes of fuel. Not canisters or litres – tonnes,» Mūrnieks told journalists.

State Police Chief Ints Ķuzis has faced penalties for violations in procurements, though only administratively. In one case he made an advance payment in a vehicle procurement for needs of Latvia’s presidency. He had no right to do that. In another case the Procurement Monitoring Bureau found that Ķuzis had violated a condition of a procurement by picking a company that would deliver dead bodies to the morgue. Ķuzis agrees that he did formally breach the law, but he is nevertheless prepared to defend his actions. Litigation continues for the second violation.

Ķuzis still has two years of his term left.

«These two years the chief of State Police has left make me think Ķuzis will not try to remain for another term. So I think he should start looking for suitable replacement,» ex-Interior Affairs Minister Rihars Kozlovskis told Nekā Personīga.

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