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Monday 17.02.2020 | Name days: Konstance, Donats

Minister: Rebenoks is one of the winners of Latvenergo council members selection process

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Latvenergo, Latvia, Economy Ministry, Pāvels Rebenoks, council, approval

Pāvels Rebenoks

The decision regarding approval of the new Latvenergo council, to which is planned to delegate Latvian Economy Minister Ralfs Nemiro’s advisor Pāvels Rebenoks, could be made by Economy Ministry’s state secretary, said Nemiro.

Economy Minister plans to move the ministry’s state secretary Ēriks Eglītis to the post of the head of the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia (CSP). Edmunds Valantis is planned to replace him as state secretary to Economy Ministry. Eglītis indirectly links this rotation with the Latvenergo council selection process. Nemiro, on the other hand, denies any link in this.

Economy minister says the personnel selection process is over and five potential council members are known. He does not reveal their names. The only thing he admits is that Rebenoks is one of the winners.

At the same time, Nemiro says the winners of the process are not revealed because all of them have to be provided with a permit to work with official secrets. He said previously reported information about Rebenoks not having a permit to work with official secrets is false.

«So far none of the contenders have turned to the Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB) with a request to provide access to official secrets,» Nemiro said, adding that information from SAB is requested after determining winners. The bureau has yet to respond.

The minister says the Latvenergo council members selection committee was formed following his request and Eglītis was in charge of it. At the same time, Latvian Chamber for Commerce and Industry representative Normunds Bergs was his deputy. The committee also included Economy Ministry’s parliamentary secretary Jurģis Miezainis, Economy Ministry’s deputy state secretary for energy policy Dzintars Kauliņš, Cross-Sectoral Coordination Centre’s representative and LLC Latvijas Mobilais Telefons deputy council chairman Anrī Leimanis. Enerģija trade union and Society for Openness Delna representatives served as advisors and supervisors.

The selection process progressed in five stages and has already concluded. According to Nemiro, before a new Latvenergo council, it is necessary to wait for security institutions to perform background checks for candidates.

«Aside from the five winners there are three reserve candidates. These three may be approved if any of the five approved candidates are not picked. If any of the candidates experience problems with issue of permits to access to official secrets, they will not be approved,» said the minister.

When asked to assess the situation when Rebenoks stands candidate for the post of Latvenergo council member, who is a person close to the minister, Nemiro stressed that Rebenoks has never been his employer. On top of that, the selection process was open – anyone could have applied for it.

«If someone meets requirements of the personnel selection process, has knowledge of Latvenergo’s work and skills of managing a council, then it is possible to approve such a person through the selection process,» said Nemiro.

The minister stresses that the selection process was organized in accordance with OECD recommendations.

Nemiro said he is unhappy the Latvenergo council selection process took so long – the minister had issued the order for the process in summer 2019 and it was supposed to end at the end of November.

At the same time, Eglītis admits – the selection process commission took so long because of many bureaucratic obstacles.

When asked who could make the final decision about Latvenergo’s new council, Nemiro admits there is no major difference if the final decision is made by the departing or new state secretary to Economy Ministry.

Eglītis agrees that the final decision about Latvenergo’s council may be made by the next state secretary. However, he believes this would not be correct.

«It would not be right, because this person will not have participated in the candidate selection process. I wouldn’t want to make the decision if I wasn’t part of the process. It would be odd otherwise,» adds Eglītis.

On 19 June 2019 Latvenergo’s council was dismissed and an interim council appointed in its place. At the same time, certain coalition politicians have criticized the appointment of interim council members and their suitability for the post. Pointing out political pressure, the interim council stepped down on 1 July.

Read also: Programme: minister wants state secretary gone over an objection

The interim council consisted of Rebenoks, head of the minister’s office Inese Kublicka, Wind Energy Association’s board member Kristaps Stepanovs, Rigensis Bank board member Renārs Degro and Artūrs Šnoriņš.

The council member selection process was announced 9 August.

On 9 October Latvenergo shareholders meeting picked a new interim council with three members: Valantis, Irēna Bērziņa and Edijs Šaicāns.

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