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Ceturtdiena 21.11.2019 | Name days: Andis, Zeltīte

LDz Council refuses to reveal to Saeima compensation paid to ex-managers

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Ex-Latvian Railway board chairman Edvīns Bērziņš

The council of Latvian Railway (LDz) and Latvia’s Transport Ministry as the company shareholder decided not to reveal to Saeima’s Public Expenditures and Audit Committee the exact amount of compensations paid to the company’s ex-managers.

The committee’s leader Kaspars Ģirģens mentioned at the Tuesday, 5 November, that information has appeared in the public space, implying that ex-board chairman of LDz Edvīns Bērziņš and ex-board member Aivars Strakšas were paid EUR 150 000 as compensation.

«The committee wrote a request to the chairman of LDz council Jānis Lange to reveal compensation amounts. However, Lange respondent by saying he cannot reveal such information, because it contains personal information. This is why the committee asked Saeima’s Legal Affairs Office to provide explanations as to how justified it is to refuse providing such information,» said Ģirģens.

Saeima’s Legal Affairs Office’s representative mentioned at the meeting that both the Constitution and Saeima’s Rules of Procedure makes it unambiguously clear that the Saeima has the right to request all necessary information, which also applies to information from state capital associations.

«This is also backed by the 2014 ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice, when a private person made a request to airBaltic regarding the company’s brand. The ruling states this information needs to be disclosed. Information may be applied with limited access status, which is why the committee needs to act accordingly to ensure protection of sensitive data,» said the head of the Legal Affairs Office.

Lange told deputies that the signed agreement with Bērziņš and Strakšas prohibits him from disclosing this information without their consent. He also said declarations of both aforementioned officials have been published already, which means deputies can use information from their declaration to calculate the compensation amount.

«Bērziņš’s wage was EUR 12 000 a month. Multiply that by 7.5 months, subtract the total amount stated in the declaration and you will see the compensation amount. I’m not hiding anything, I only want to act in accordance with the law,’ said Lange.

Deputy Juta Strīķe told Lange that Saeima deputies have no need to do any math. Instead they should be provided with the information they request. ‘Aside from wages, there could also be vacation pay, sick leave pay and other money. This is why re-calculation would not reflect the actual situation,» she said.

«I cannot understand what prevents LDz Council and Transport Ministry from revealing requested information. The ruling of the Supreme Court of 2014 applies directly to Transport Ministry’s represented companies. This is why this represents clear disrespect on the Saeima committee,» stresses Strīķe.

Data State Inspectorate director Daiga Avdejanova mentioned during the committee’s meeting that data protection regulation does not prohibit requesting and processing information. Limited access information should also be provided following requests.

Lange said in response that he is not trying to hide anything, stressing again that he wants to ‘act in accordance with the law’.

Ģirģens said the committee has a similar problem with Riga City Council, which is why the committee intends to look for ways to resolve it.

It was planned to discuss information about LDz and its subsidiaries’ accounts for operations between 2017 and 2019. However, prior to the meeting Transport Ministry’s state secretary Džineta Innusa mentioned that LDz’s prepared presentation contains financial data, which is sensitive information.

«Topical data for this year is not public information, as no audit has been performed recently. This is why part of the committee’s meeting should be declared closed,» said Innusa.

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