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Monday 17.02.2020 | Name days: Konstance, Donats

Programme: minister wants state secretary gone over an objection

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Latvia, Economy Ministry, Latvenergo, Ralfs Nemiro, council, Ēriks Eglītis

Latvian Economy Minister Ralfs Nemiro

Prior to major changes in Latvenergo’s council and board, the company’s current supervisor and Economy Ministry’s state secretary Ēriks Eglītis may lose his post. It is worth mentioning that he objected to providing Economy Minister Ralfs Nemiro’s once boss Pāvels Rebenoks an official post, as reported by TV3 programme Nekā personīga.

The programme is aware the State Chancellery has received Nemiro’s letter in which he proposes moving Eglītis to the Central Statistical Bureau and approving Edmunds Valants in his place. The State Chancellery has sent the letter back to the ministry to fix the problems therein.

Valantis did not comment on the possibility of becoming Economy Ministry’s state secretary. Economy Ministry does not comment the play either. Only thing that is mentioned is that it is the minister’s responsibility.

Nemiro, who has hastily left on a vacation, explained to Nekā personīga – it is hard to work with the ministry’s current state secretary.

It should be noted that the state secretary has freedom to influence operations of state companies.

Conflicts between Eglītis and Nemiro had escalated in summer last year, the programme reminds. Back then the minister had dismissed Latvenergo’s council and had appointed new members without a selection process. Lawyer and Nemiro’s boss for years Rebenoks became the council’s chairman. Eglītis was against these changes. In the end, however, he signed the documents, the programme explains.

Soon after the council had resigned and interim members were picked. Now they work under potential state secretary Valantis.

December was supposed to mark the conclusion for the selection process of new Latvenergo council members. Unfortunately, the process met a dead end along the way. Nekā personīga is aware security services had warned about at least one candidate having potential problems with issue of access to official secrets.

If there is a person who does not have access to official secrets in the management of the company, Latvenergo is not able to receive industrial security certificate. Without this certificate the company will not be able to participate in construction and maintenance of infrastructure of strategic importance. This would in turn put at risk everything Latvenergo is supposed to do by definition, explains Eglītis.

«Respectively, we cannot risk company operations and appoint such people to work in the council,» comments Eglītis.

Nekā Personīga is also aware Rebenoks has problems with the issue of a permit to access official secrets. He has confirmed, however, that he made it to the final stage of the selection process.

Currently it is unknown when security services might be done with their report on one of the candidates.

Latvenergo shareholders are due to meet 12 February. This is when the new council may be approved.

Tasks awaiting attention, including litigation with Kargins and Krasovickis

The programme notes that aside from approval of Latvenergo’s management, Economy Ministry has other important tasks on its plate – the term of three Latvenergo board members ends in February, Pļaviņi HES plans to implement a EUR 180 million worth canal construction project, and there is also the litigation with ex-Parex Bank shareholders Valērijs Kargins and Viktors Krasovickis.

Currently the litigation with Kargins and Krasovickis is supervised by AS Possersor (once known as the Privatisation Agency).

Nemiro has proposed signing a peaceful resolution in multiple litigations because he doubts it is worth continuing the lasting litigation, as reported by Nekā personīga. TGS law firm has been entrusted to study this opportunity.

So far the state has enforced only EUR 8 million out of EUR 230 million from Kargins and Krasovickis, the programme reports. Enforcement of the remaining EUR 222 million continues in three separate processes.

The state doubts Kargins and Krasovicskis have any other property or savings to take away.

Nekā personīga allows that Valantis positions have been undermined after a report from State Audit about the sector under Valantis’ supervised sector – housing construction. The audit concluded that the state of the country’s housing fund is critical in multiple regions.

Read also: Latvian prime minister declares Latvenergo council’s dismissal a political decision

Nemiro has asked Valantis to find a way to organize this sector. According to unofficial information, Nekā personīga is aware an internal investigation may be commenced against Valantis over poor performance.

Valantis believes he has all appropriate qualifications to serve as state secretary.

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