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Saturday 20.04.2019 | Name days: Mirta, Ziedīte

Riga election commission’s head explains public transport company's generosity

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn three years Chairman of Riga City Election Commission Juris Kokins received from public transport company Rīgas satiksme EUR 75,000 before taxes for parking lot monitoring, Kokins told TV3 News.

He adds that he got that job accidentally and that neither Riga City Council nor Riga’s Mayor Nils Ušakovs or any other politicians were involved in the contract’s signing, and that he sees no conflict of interests there. «I was looking for jobs everywhere I could, and because I have experience there I found an opportunity with parking lots,» said Kokins.

When asked if he asked Riga City Council chairman for the job, Kokins said no. «No! It was pure coincidence. I was at a parking lot and I asked if there was anything I could help out with. That’s all,» said the chairman of Riga City Election Commission. TV3 News adds that Kokins studied in the field of automobile maintenance.

When asked what his duties included, Kokins said he is not allowed to disclose this kind of information. «I am not allowed to disclose details because the contract states such information is non-disclosable. But to make it clear – it was related to parking lot monitoring,» said Kokins, adding that it can be said that he was basically in charge of observing parking lots. He denied it being «work on paper», adding that it was very real work.

When asked how long he was employed, Kokins said doesn’t have to «comment everything».

Rīgas satiksmē confirmed to TV3 News that the contract with Kokins was signed for monitoring parking lots. RS representative Viktors Zaķis added that such contracts are not to be kept secret. «Well no, not exactly. As I’ve told you about the topic of the contract – I don’t see anything secret in what he did. As I’ve told you, those duties were performed. As for the reasons why he considers them secret, you should ask him,» said Zaķis.

When asked again what he did as part of his contract, Kokins was evasive. «I really can’t say. I don’t even have a term for this topic. [Secret] I’ll take to the grave,» he said.

He said the law does not prohibit him the freedom of earning a little on the side. Kokins also adds he did not know Ušakovs is a shareholder in Rīgas satiksme. «There was no way I could have known he is a shareholder there. This kind of information is not immediately accessible in companies,» he said. TV3 News reports the contract between Rīgas satiksme and Kokins ended in December 2018 and was not extended. Because of the public outrage, Kokins is no longer eager to earn some extra money in Rīgas satiksmē.

According to information reported by TV3 News, Kokins was paid EUR 75,000 by Rīgas satiksme for advisory services over three years. Riga’s Mayor Nils Ušakovs told TV3 News he sees no ethic problems with this situation.

Central Election Commission’s Chairperson Kristīne Bērziņa told the programme that municipal election commission members are allowed to work in other jobs and formally there was no breach of the law.

It was previously reported by TV3 programme Nekā personīga that in 2018 Rīgas satiksme signed contracts with 46 people associated with Harmony or Honour to Serve Riga.

Audit company Ernst&Young concluded in its report that consultations for Rīgas satiksme were provided by politically important people – members of Harmony and Honour to Serve Riga.

Consultations on different topics, such as improvement of health of RS workers, were provided by four current Riga City Council members Sandris Bergmanis, Viktors Paškovs, Igors Kuzmuks and Jefimijs Klementjevs, as well as once Saeima member Aleksandrs Sakovskis and ex-Riga City Council member Nikolajs Zaharovs, who was paid EUR 3,000 a month for consultations on alternative fuel.

As previously reported, Riga City Council deputy Vilnis Ķirsis has turned to the Prosecutor General’s Office, requesting a detailed investigation of the employment of Harmony and Honour to Service Riga in Rīgas satiksmē.

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