Liepāja prison project a stumbling block for 2020 budget, says Kariņš

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The Liepaja jail project at present is the stumbling block in the 2020 budget, said Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) after the extraordinary meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers September 6.

Due to disagreements about the construction of Liepāja prison, the government has postponed the decisions on 2020 budget until next week.

"We have been working intensely for weeks, parties and ministries reached compromises, agreed on the priorities that will be good for the society. Still, the last stumbling block was the start of the Liepāja jail construction project," the prime minister said.

Kariņš reminded that the present draft budget does not provide for the construction works to be started next year, but it would be possible in 2022.

"We should view the realistic situation. The Liepāja jail project did not let us reach an agreement on the 2020 budget. I will continue work with all coalition partners to find a common stance. We will find the solution," said the prime minister.

The Liepāja jail construction is a project started by the Justice Ministry under the lead of Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns (New Conservative Party).

Abora, the company which earlier won the tender for building the prison, will not be awarded the contract, Bordāns said later September 6.

Bordāns made the decision, "given the conditions on the Latvian market and the fact that there is virtually no support from the coalition for funding the prison construction project."

It has been proposed to postpone the project for several years, which will mean a new call for tenders, he said.

Bordāns has decided to launch a new international tender. "It's my decision as a minister of justice. It doesn't even matter what the government's decision is," the minister said.

Early this year Abora was selected to build the Liepāja Prison complex, offering to implement the project for €113.6m.

The company has been mentioned in connection with the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau and Competition Council's searched carried out earlier this week at several construction companies and public officials as part of a criminal case on bribery and a suspected cartel in the construction industry.

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