Court orders Culture Ministry to pay €9.3 million to builders of National Library

The Riga City Vidzeme District Court has awarded €9,272,319 to the builders of the National Library of Latvia, the general partnership Nacionalo Buvkompaniju Apvieniba (Association of the National Construction Companies), in their legal dispute with the Culture Ministry, which also has to pay €60,083 in court fees, LETA was told at the court.

Representatives of the Culture Ministry told LETA that the verdict would be appealed.

The court representatives said that the builders’ claim was granted partially, ordering the ministry to pay the debt owed to the library builders but rejecting a demand for compensations for breach of contract.

The ruling of the district court can be appealed to Riga Regional Court.

Culture Ministry State Secretary Dace Vilsone told LETA that this ruling would never come into effect and that the ministry would seek justice in the court of appeals.

Vilsone said that the Culture Ministry’s position remains unchanged that the contractors’ lawsuit in which they demand over €12 million from the ministry is baseless and unfair.

The Culture Ministry maintains that it has fulfilled its contractual obligations and paid the full price for the construction of the National Library by paying out €195.6 million to the contractors over a period of 8 years.

Meanwhile, the builders claim the ministry still owes them nearly €10 million, plus a contractual penalty and interest on amounts paid late.

In March 2018, the ministry’s representative Lita Kokale told LETA that the ministry had paid the construction contractors in full in accordance with the contract signed on May 15, 2008, and the confirmation of the final payment issued by the Hill International as the construction supervisor of the National Library project.

Kokale stressed that the maximum contract amount was calculated back in 2008 when the construction costs had been at the highest level in Latvia's history. The Latvian states paid altogether €195,565,638 for construction of the new National Library building which lasted for eight years, she said.

As reported, in January 2017 the Culture Ministry rejected the request by Nacionala Buvkompaniju Apvieniba for payment of additional €22.48 million for construction of the National Library, and the construction contractor vowed to turn to the court to get the money, insisting that the amount comprised construction fees still due to it, plus the applicable penalties and interest.

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