"Latvian Railways" chief convinced board will continue

The board of the State JSC “Latvian Railways” will continue its work, said Edvīns Bērziņš, the chairman of the board of the company, speaking about the anticipated council meeting, in which the dismissal of two board members – Aivars Strakšas and Ainis Stūrmanis – was to be discussed.

Currently, the board of “Latvian Railways” consists of its chairman Edvīns Bērziņš, together with board members Aivars Strakšas, Ēriks Šmuksts and Ainis Stūrmanis. Bērziņš and Strūmanis have served on the board since 2016, and Strakšas and Stūrmanis since 2017.

Bērziņš pointed out that the Minister of Transport Tālis Linkaits (New Conservative Party), who had on May 7th expressed distrust of all board members except Ēriks Šmuksta, had addressed two of his suspicions to the board, one of them concerning the company's economic activity.

“In this case, it does not withstand criticism, because the shareholder himself – the representative of the Ministry of Transport – has said that 2018 was a very good year for “Latvian Railways”. All aims have been met,” said the head of the company.

He noted that the accusations about corruption “are absurd”. Therefore the representatives of the board have turned to the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau of Latvia (KNAB), requesting information on whether they are involved in any criminal proceedings or whether they have been assigned a status. “We have received an answer saying that we are not involved, and we will submit it to the council,” said Bērziņš, expressing conviction that the council of the company is going to review the submitted information.

“I think that we will continue our work,” said Bērziņš.

Asked if the board of “Latvian Railways” may be politically inconvenient to someone, the head of the company said: “The Minister should not throw such statements around. I suppose that the experts around him are simply telling different things without evidence. It so happens, unfortunately, that nowadays many different things are reported, and then no evidence is given.”

The meeting of the board took place June 6 but no decisions about dismissals were taken. Instead it was decided to perform an audit.

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