Ašeradens asks for negligence probe over "green energy" licenses

Latvian Economics Minister Arvils Ašeradens (Unity) has turned to the Prosecutor General’s Office, asking to probe Economics Ministry’s officials for negligence in the issue of mandatory purchase component (MPC) licenses, the ministry said.

Ašeradens does not reveal any names of the Economics Ministry’s officials in the applications, but he calls to evaluate activities of the officials that were involved and in charge of supervision of the renewable energy sector in the time period between 2012 and 2017.

The Economics Ministry is implementing a number of measures to improve the MPC system, including enforcing control over green energy plants. An independent audit was carried out by PriceWaterhouse Coopers to evaluate the actions of the ministry’s officials in issuing MPC licenses, controlling power plants and annulling these licenses.

A number of problems were detected in the issue of MPC licenses and control of green energy producers in the time period between August 2012 and November 2017.

Aseradens said that he had been surprised by the superficial attitude to organization of work of the former top administration of the ministry, and failure to allocate the necessary resources for sufficient control over the sector.

"Supervision, control of the MPC system, issue of MPC licenses is management of more than €260 million worth of liabilities that are paid by Latvian residents and businesses. It ranges from lack of good governance to even alleged irresponsibility of officials – these are the conclusions from the results of the audit," the minister said.

Therefore, he has turned to the Prosecutor General’s Office, asking to evaluate results of the audit, focusing on alleged inactivity or negligence of the ministry’s officials, making decisions that allowed for legalization of the MPC fraudulent schemes.

According to LETA’s archives, in the said time period, economics ministers were Daniels Pavļuts (For Development/For), Vjačeslavs Dombrovskis (Harmony), Dana Reizniece-Ozola (Greens and Farmers Union) and Ašeradens. State secretaries at the time were Juris Pūce (For Development/For), MārtiņšLadovskis, Ringolds Beinarovičs and Juris Stinka.

As reported, Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis (Greens and Farmers Union) in early August submitted to the prosecutor’s office his report on the implementation of the mandatory purchase component system from 2007 to 2018, including information on an allegedly unlawful licensing of ten wind farms for government support under the MPC system.

In the report chronicling the implementation of the MPC system from 2007 to 2018, the prime minister says that, based on renewable energy generation regulations, MPC licenses were issued to ten wind farms on March 24, 2009, although the aforementioned regulations had lost validity on March 14, 2009.

At the time when the wind farms were granted the licenses, Artis Kampars (Unity) was serving as Latvia’s economics minister, Anrijs Matīss (now Harmony) was the Economics Ministry’s state secretary and his deputy Andris Liepiņš signed the licenses on behalf of the state secretary.

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