bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Ceturtdiena 02.04.2020 | Name days: Imgarde, Irmgarde
LatviaLatvia

Minister: administration of Latvian Railway cannot be trusted

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe current administration of Latvian Railway cannot be trusted – they do not understand European Commission’s free market regulations. Moreover – there are suspicions of corruption and internal scheming within the company, said Latvia’s Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits during a press-conference.

Latvian Railway chairman and president Edvīns Bērziņš, board member and vice-president Aivars Strakšas, as well as vice-president Ainis Stūrmanis received the biggest portion of bashing from the minister for «non-transparent activities».

«I have met with LDz administration and shared with them my impression about the company’s overall work. When I began my work in the ministry, I made it clear we would assess all companies for compliance with good corporate management principle to prevent different kinds of scheming and crimes of corruption, which have been historically recorded here. And respectively, after performing the assessment, I informed the administration of Latvian Railway that

I cannot trust them due to a number of reasons,» said Linkaits.

When asked to explain the reasons, the minister said: «First of all, the industry is in the process of being opened for the free market. We discussed non-regulation of the industry, and at the same time the Competition Council has initiated a case regarding abuse of dominant position and market distortion, which puts the country at risk of serious financial consequences.

The general feeling is that the board of LDz does not really understand European Commission’s and EU’s requirements in regards to market openness for free competition».

Another aspect is potential corruption and scheming in the industry. «We compiled and forwarded information to Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau on 25 April. The ministry is not an investigative institution. This is why I trust authorities will do their jobs and make accurate conclusions,» said Linkaits.

The minister’s first impression is that many tasks on the highest level are done in a non-transparent manner, allowing different kinds of schemes and corruptive activities. «On top of that, if we touch the subject of wasteful use of property and different advertisement and marketing contracts in which LDz Council has requested audits, even this, I believe, points to the fact that the administration did not act as a responsible owner.»

Another aspect is potential corruption and scheming in the industry. The minister did not want to go into details during the press-conference. He only said the corruption cases are related to advertisement contracts. Linkaits said the exact amount paid will be clarified in the future. He only said this amount «is very large».

The minister also stresses that a large amount of emphasis in advertisement contracts was noticed in Ventspils and Dobele.

There is no logical reason why these two cities require so much sponsoring, especially considering these two cities do not have a large number of LDz clients. «With that, we believe many advertisement and marketing contracts were not related to the company;s main form of activities.»

When asked by journalists if contracts could have ties to Aivars Lembergs and Uldis Augulis, the minister said: «I hope we will learn about motivation more through audits».

Linkaits, explaining his request for LDz council to dismiss LDz board members, comments: «I would find it hard to work with a company’s board in the implementation of objectives detailed in the action plan in relation to the country’s railway industry. The decision to keep or dismiss board members is in the hands of the company’s council.»

The council will decide on the aforementioned board members’ remainder in their posts next week. In the next couple of weeks the council will decide on the aforementioned individuals’ remainder in their posts, considering dismissal is an act in the hands of the council, not the minister. At the same time, the minister can advise the council on how to act.

Everything said thus far does not apply to board member Ēriks Šmuksts, who, according to the minister, is described as a patriot and professional in his line of work. «We have not found anything compromising or worth criticising in his work. Therefore I trust him to continue performing his duties.»

As it is known, Bērziņš has been a board member of Latvian Railway since 2011 and its chairman since 2016. His term ends 24 February 2021. He is also the current deputy chairman of RB Rail.

Strakšas has been a board member since 2005 and his term ends 28 August 2022. Šmuksts has been a board member since 2008 and his term ends 1 December 2022. Stūrmanis has been a board member since 2016 and his term ends 17 July 2021.


Leave a reply

EU planning lending programme to support temporary work schemes

EU member states would guarantee the creation of a fund up to 100 billion euros aimed at providing loans to governments to support workers in countries hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission plans, according to EurActiv.

Minister: repatriation efforts may be restarted mid-April

Repatriation efforts may be restarted in the middle of April, said Latvia’s Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits on 1 April at a conference of Latvian municipalities on public transport and traffic during a state of emergency.

Saeima committee supports writing off debts left from 2008 crisis

On Wednesday, 1 April, Latvian Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee conceptually supported during a remote meeting the proposal to allow credit institutions to one-sidedly write off debts for mortgage loans taken prior to the 2008 economic crisis, as reported by Saeima press-service.

Belarus introduces ban on buckwheat exports

Belarusian government has prohibited temporarily the export of buckwheat and other staple foods, state news agency BelTA reported.

Moscow tests app for tracking infected people required to self-isolate

In Moscow, where a lockdown has been in place since the beginning of the week, a new smartphone app is being developed and tested aimed at ensuring that patients with mild symptoms adhere to their contract of self-isolation, Russian state news agency TASS reports.

Multiple of Nature Protection Office’s duties delegated to the State Environment Service

Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry issued an order on 30 March to delegate multiple duties of the Nature Protection Office to the State Environment Service, according to information from LETA.

Latvian State Employment Agency received notifications for numerous planned lay-offs

Latvia’s State Employment Agency has received notification about planned lay-offs of 3 258 employees of 19 companies.

1 April onward entry to Jurmala by car will not be allowed without paying 2 euro fee

Wednesday, 1 April, marks the beginning of the the season when entry to Jurmala by car will require a 2 euro fee, as reported by Jurmala City Council.

Estonia looking at mass tests’ option to determine latency of COVID-19

The Estonian government has set itself the goal of mass tests of COVID-19 in the society, its Foreign Minister has revealed as the worst-hit Baltic country is looking at ways to overcome the outbreak, Estonian public broadcaster reports.

COVID-19 update in Baltic. 446 in Latvia, 581 in Lithuania, 779 in Estonia

The number of confirmed COVID-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 446. Meanwhile, Lithuanian media report 581 cases.

Countries rush to support production of lung ventilators, essential amid pandemic

Governments and medical institutions in the world seek to acquire many lung ventilators that can save lives in severe cases of the COVID-19 disease. France and Israel have made recent announcements in this respect, German public broadcaster DW reports.

Public catering companies to adopt new hygiene requirements as of 1 April

Latvia’s Agriculture Ministry has expanded requirements for public catering and retail trade companies, BNN was told by the ministry.

At least 26 healthcare workers in Latvia confirmed infected with COVID-19

At least 26 healthcare workers in Latvia have been infected with COVID-19, according to information reported by the Disease Prevention and Monitoring Centre expert Jurijs Perevoščikovs.

UN Secretary General calls for solidarity seeing pandemic as a global test

UN Secretary General António Guterres has evaluated that the social and economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest test to mankind since World War Two, British public broadcaster BBC reports.

Agricultural product price level up 1.5% in Latvia last year

Compared to 2018, price index of agricultural output increased by 1.5 % in 2019, which was mainly due to the 5 % rise in prices of livestock products. Price index of crop products grew by 0.9 %.

Start of inability to cover debts seen in Estonian economy

In Estonian economy hit by the outbreak of COVID-19 and emergency restrictions, initial indications of payment defaults have been noticed by the risk management firm Creditinfo Eesti, according to Estonian public broadcaster ERR.

Labour costs in Latvia considerably below EU and Eurozone average in 2019

Average hourly labour costs in Latvia were EUR 9.9 last year, which is considerably below the average of European Union (EU) and Eurozone, according to data published by Eurostat on Tuesday, 31 March.

Youth Song and Dance Celebration in Latvia pushed back to 2021

The XII Latvian School Song and Dance Celebration Committee and Song and Dance Council decided on Tuesday, 31 March, to push back this summer’s youth song and dance celebration to 2021, as Education and Science Minister Ilga Šuplinska confirmed in a press-conference.

Russia sees COVID-19 infection rate jump by 500 in one day

In Russia, the infection rate with COVID-19 has accelerated as authorities registered 500 new cases in one day. Meanwhile, people are getting discharged after recovery in hospitals, Russian state news agency TASS reports.

Latvian minister allows face-to-face teaching at schools will not return this year

It is clear remote teaching at Latvia’s schools and vocational education facilities will remain for longer. It is also possible face-to-face teaching will not return at all this season. This means most school children will also likely miss centralized exams, said Latvian Education and Science Minister Ilga Šuplinska in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama.

Electricity price drops to the lowest level of the past seven years

This year there has been a rapid decline of electricity wholesale price in Latvia. Nord Pool price in Latvia’s area reached its historically lowest point in March, according to market data of the Public Utilities Commission.

Riga city executive director Juris Radzevičs temporarily suspended from his post

The head of Riga city municipality’s interim administration Edvīns Balševics has suspended the city’s executive director Juris Radzevičs from his post.

Fuel sales in Estonia down by 30% to 50%

Petrol stations in Estonia have during the outbreak of COVID-19 and emergency restrictions observed a significant fall in the sales of fuel, Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports.

BNN INTERVIEW | How is COVID-19 used to prolong Lembergs’ trial?

Attempts to prolong Aivars Lembergs’ trial still continue. The accused are trying to use the state of emergency in the country as an excuse to cancel hearings. But when asked about the option to organize trials via video conference, the accused say – let the state pay for a computer and internet connection, as they would not use theirs for such a task, BNN was told by prosecutor Juris Juriss.

UK urged to extend Brexit transition period; London says: «No»

The European Parliament’s most influential faction has suggested the United Kingdom to prolong its the transition period of its withdrawal from the European Union over the effects of the pandemic of COVID-19, The Guardian reports.


Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!