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Saturday 21.07.2018 | Name days: Meldra, Meldris, Melisa
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Minister: small-time fraudsters are put in jail, while big ones get promoted

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Edmunds Sprudzs

“We cannot allow for the saying about small-time fraudsters being put in jail, while big ones get promoted to be used in regard to Riga Free port (RFP),” – Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Edmunds Sprudzs says. He calls officials of RFP to objectively evaluate the violations that were uncovered by State Audit (SA).

State officials should act fast in events of suspicion of illegal and non-transparent activities with state finances in order to prevent possible violations and further misuse of state finances, Sprudzs emphasises.

“Chairman of Riga City Council and his team – Andris Ameriks and Leonid Loginov – are too carried away with calming society, saying that the situation is under control and that it would be wise to wait for the conclusion of law enforcement institutions. This is not what society deserves and expects. A similar situation is present with Rīgas nami – when the same officials are being held responsible for the loss of more than 1.2 million LVL. In the case of RFP, the point lies in more than 41 million LVL of lost funds – which is something we cannot allow,” – the minister believes.

According to him, Riga City Council should become an example of good management for every other municipality. This is why it is especially painful for society to see how Riga City Council neglects the clear and confirmed violations, EPRDM reports.

“Municipal representatives have been present at the Board of RFP for years, even when the SA inspection had uncovered the violations. With that, simple commentaries and reluctance to act can be understandable on a human level, but is politically pusillanimous,” – the minister says.

“On top of that, it also ruins society’s trust not only in the municipality, but also in the state as a whole. We cannot allow that the saying about small-time fraudsters being put in jail, while big ones get promoted to be used in regard to Riga Free port,” – he says.

BNN previously reported that the State Audit (SA) has recently performed an inspection at RFP in order to determine whether the port administration’s activities for the 2009-2011 period complied with regulations.

A total of 595 thousand LVL of funds belonging to RFPA have been illegally spent on bonuses, gifts and health insurance of Board members. They are also said to have wrongly calculated benefits, holiday payments and sick-leave certificates.

Regulations state – goals are to be achieved using the least possible amount of financial resources. However, when presenting entrepreneurs 1.08 million LVL for docking maintenance fees, RFPA had not determined the actual amount of money entrepreneurs had invested in accordance with their contracts.

The port has spent 145 thousand LVL on donations that do not comply with rules regarding financial squandering prevention acts. 745 thousand LVL were spent on natural and legal persons’ agreements for financial support as if signing contracts for purchasing advertisement services. Even though the procurement of such services was not planned, it was never coordinated and its possible affect on improving the port’s services and cargo handling was not evaluated.

The port administration’s illogical decisions and employees’ reluctance to complete their duties has resulted in losses worth at least 403 thousand LVL. Funds were spent on repairs of Varma icebreaker (354 thousand LVL), instead of investing them in the base capital of the ship’s owner.

Without following regulations the administration of the port relieved cruise ships from having to pay sanitation fees, losing a potential amount of 2.08 million LVL as a result. The administration also did not use the funds provided by tug boat lease in order to collect rent fees of 501 thousand LVL. It also failed to take action to return debts for a total amount of 124 thousand LVL.


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