bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Wednesday 18.09.2019 | Name days: Liesma, Elita, Alita
LatviaLatvia

Opinion: developments involving Rīgas satiksme are no coincidence

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe recent developments surrounding Riga municipal company Rīgas satiksme are no coincidence – rather a logical unravelling of events. Riga City Council chairman Nils Ušakovs should take full responsibility for it, said Latvian Interior Affairs Minister Sandis Ģirģens in an interview to LNT programme 900 seconds.

He based his assumptions on the fact that RS has been generously subsidized by Riga City Council for years. On top of that, the minister said it was never clear where this money went. He adds there is a lot to evaluate and investigate in the criminal process on RS procurements.

When asked if Ušakovs should step down after all this, the minister was ambiguous in his response, as he believes only the court in Latvia is authorized to declare someone guilty. Still, he does say Ušakovs should take responsibility should step down purely from an ethical standpoint.

«Unfortunately, all is not well in Latvia when it comes to compliance with ethics in politics,» adds the minister.

As it is known, Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau performed searches in the office and home of Riga City Council chairman Nils Ušakovs on 30 January.

In its statement, KNAB confirmed a criminal process was launched in November 2018 in relation to procurements organized by Rīgas satiksme. In relation to this criminal case, KNAB performed searches at several addresses.

Ušakovs later confirmed to journalists that KNAB officers did perform searches in his office and home on 30 January. Ušakovs’ wife and office head Iveta Strautiņa-Ušakova said only her husband’s name was mentioned on the order regarding the search.

The politician refused to discuss the case in detail, stressing that he has signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Ušakovs did not say as part of which criminal process searches were performed.

The politician also added that he has been given no status in any criminal case, nor has he been asked to come testify. Nevertheless, he is certain he will have to meet with KNAB officers at some point.

Following the criminal process regarding three of Rīgas satiksme’s procurements, the entire management board of the company stepped down. A temporary management has been appointed. Riga City Council Vice-Chairman Andris Ameriks also stepped down after information was publicly reported.

As it is known, KNAB commenced a criminal process in relation to three procurements organized by Rīgas satiksme – the 2016 low-floor tram procurement (EUR 62,597,477), the 2013 trolleybus procurements (EUR 131,646,135), as well as the 2013 bus procurement (EUR 75,808,297).

The criminal process revolves around bribery and money laundering activities.

Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court applied an arrest to six out of seven suspects. Honour to Serve Riga long-term member Aleksandrs Krjačeks was later released from custody after eight days. Škoda Transportation official Vladislavs Kozaks, RS Infrastructure Maintenance and Development Department Director Igors Volkinšteins, former RS chairman Leons Bemhens, businessmen Māris Martinsons and Edgars Teterovskis remain under arrest.

According to KNAB, the criminal process was launched in regards to criminal activities performed by representatives of Czech and Polish companies in cooperation with Riga City Council and Rīgas satiksme officials and their associates. All the people involved in the criminal case performed money laundering and provided influx of funds through fully functional and fictive companies, thereby providing bribes for Riga City Council and Rīgas satiksme officials in the three procurements.

Nekā personīga reported that for every supplied trolleybus, bus and tram, 5-7% of bribes were paid. The total value of three procurements exceeds EUR 270 million, which means bribes account for 13.5 – 20 million euros.


Leave a reply

Discussions about MPC nearly ruin Latvian government’s 2020 budget viewing

The sudden outburst of the government over the addition of the mandatory procurement component to the government’s list of topics almost caused discussions of the 2020 government budget fall through.

EU court views Ireland’s appeal against 13 billion-euro fine to Apple

The General Court of the European Union has commenced the hearing of an appeal against a decision by Brussels that Ireland has to recover 13 billion euros from the tech giant Apple for unpaid taxes.

Amid investigations, Swedbank admits shortcomings in anti-money laundering work

In Estonia and Sweden, the leading bank of the Baltics, Swedbank has admitted to investigating authorities that it has had and still has certain shortcomings in areas linked to the prevention of money laundering, according a press release.

Latvian government approves changes to improve healthcare for pregnant women

Latvia’s government has approved amendment to Cabinet of Ministers requirements to help expand screening of birth defects and establish recertification requirements for obstetricians, Healthcare Ministry reports.

FVS: catering in multiple education facilities in Sigulda was being provided illegally

Latvia’s Food and Veterinary Service found different violations of regulations during inspections performed in schools around Sigulda, as confirmed by the service.

Exclusive | Competition Council’s chief on construction cartel; society needs to see the guilty pay the price

Society needs to see the guilty pay the price. Those guilty need to step down from their posts, not go underground and wait until the storm has calmed down, BNN was told by Competition Council’s chairperson Skaidrīte Ābrama about the recently uncovered construction cartel and suspicions over involvement of high-ranking officials.

U.S. urges Lithuania not to honour people linked to Holocaust

An American Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues has called on Lithuania «to objectively review the actions of historical figures to determine the impact of their actions, both positive and negative».

Minsk stands for its nuclear rights as Lithuania warns about Astravyets’ safety

As the Belarus’ first nuclear power plant is scheduled to start operations later in 2019 despite opposition from Lithuania, the Belarusian Deputy Energy Minister has reiterated the country’s rights to produce nuclear power.

University of Latvia to organize a new procurement for House of Letters

The procurement for the House of Letters has been put on hold and the University of Latvia has decided to organize a new procurement for the building’s construction, as acting LU rector Gvido Straube told public broadcaster LNT programme 900 seconds.

Latvia’s SRS’s tax collection in eight months exceeds expectations

In the first eight months of 2019 Latvia’s State Revenue Service has collected EUR 6.446 billion for the state budget, which is 0.3% or EUR 20.899 million more than previously planned, according to published information.

Amnesty International awards teenage climate activist Thunberg

Amnesty International, which describes itself as the world’s largest human rights organisation, has given its Ambassador of Consciousness Award to Swedish schoolgirl, who has inspired the mass weekly demonstrations calling for climate-conscious policy reforms.

Citskovskis: wages in public administration should reach 80% of private sector’s

In the development of a new remuneration system in public administration, one of the goals is achieving that wages in public administration reaches 80% of the remuneration level in the private sector, said the head of Latvia’s State Chancellery Jānis Citskovskis in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

EU to discuss Brexit with UK each day, Johnson still pushing to leave on October 31

A high-level Brexit meeting has been held by the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, where the officials have agreed to make meetings more frequent with October 31 as the deadline.

Investigation of intestinal infection leads FVS to vegetable processing shop in Jelgava

While investigating the cause behind the intestinal infection in Sigulda, Latvia’s Food and Veterinary Service has shut down a vegetable processing shop in Jelgava, as confirmed by the service.

Ukraine planning surge in military spending as war continues

Amid preparations for Donbas War talks in the Normandy format, Kyiv has announced a draft national budget that would include a 16%-hike in defence spending.

Latvia’s number of vacant job above EU’s average in second quarter of 2019

In Q2 2019, the number of vacant jobs in Latvia was above the average of European Union and Eurozone, which is reflected in percentage ratio between the total number of jobs – both taken and vacant.

Estonia worried West’s loosening grip on Russia could end in third intervention

Amid concessions to Russia in the OSCE and calls to invite it to the G7, Estonian Foreign Minister has spoken against the possibility of lower European Union’s principles against Russia, which could encourage Moscow to carry out third interventionist adventure.

19 children and four kindergarten employees show signs of intestinal infection

By Sunday, 15 September, symptoms of intestinal infection were found for 23 people, including 19 children and four kindergarten employees in Sigulda and its surrounding areas, as reported by Disease Prevention and Control Centre.

Number of vacant jobs in Latvia up 5 900 or 23.8%

In Q2 2019 there were 30.5 thousand job vacancies in Latvia, which is 5.9 thousand vacancies or 23.8 % more than in Q2 2018. In public sector there were 8.6 thousand and in private sector 21.9 thousand vacant jobs.

Europe’s electricity network will help increase energy exchange opportunities

After Baltic States’ joining of the European Electricity Network, there will be an increase for opportunities in energy exchange and trade, says AS Augstsprieguma tīkls board member Varis Boks.

Tartu retail battle: Maxima objects being shoulder to shoulder with Lidl

In the city of Tartu, Lithuanian grocery retail chain Maxima is not satisfied with the local zoning plan that could see the first shop of its low-price competitor Lidl be opened close to its property.

Unemployment benefits in Latvia to be paid for eight, not nine months

From now on unemployment benefits in Latvia will be paid for eight, not nine months. The total amount is cut, thereby allowing Welfare Ministry to save EUR 12 million, said minister Ramona Petraviča in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama.

Transport pollution: Paris planning 500 subsidy to e-bike purchase to millions

As France aims to reduce its air pollution, greater Paris is considering a massive subsidy programme to millions of its inhabitants to the purchase of an electric bike.

Polluted areas in Riga disappear from registers; builders often relieved of clean-up

Polluted territories in Riga have a tendency to disappear from registers of such territories. Often this results in builders being relieved of the responsibility of construction restrictions and the duty to clean polluted territories, as reported by public broadcaster TV3 programme Nekā Personīga.

EU: Progress in Brexit talks not «huge» as PM Johnson says it is

«Huge progress» – these words were used by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to describe the state of Brexit talks before he travels to Brussels hoping to overcome the Irish backstop problem. European Commission however is yet to receive alternative proposals to speak of.

Newest comments