€14m spent on transport in Rīga misspent or untraceable, claims Audit Office

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The local authority of Riga has misspent €5.4 million that were supposed to be used to improve the city’s transport infrastructure and the use of another €9.1 million is untraceable, the State Audit Office has concluded.

The state auditors claim in their report that municipal officials have failed to use public funds effectively, economically and in line with the law as they organized construction, renovation and maintenance of streets, roads, squares and parking spaces in the city.

“Transport infrastructure problems in Riga city have not been solved consistently and have grown increasingly pressing in recent years, while work on the existing projects has been chaotic and nontransparent. The local authority has not been solving the long-standing problems with transport safety and utilities. Although street renovation projects are commissioned and funded, it does not mean they are completed, while the completed project fail to contribute to solving the existing transport infrastructure projects,” the state auditors said.

According to the audit report, between 2010 and 2017 the Riga City Council’s Transport Department worked out several technical projects for the construction of transport infrastructure objects in the city and in some cases construction works were even started, but the projects were abandoned at some stage and their costs, totaling €5.3 million, written off.

According to municipal regulations, revenue generated by municipal parking lots have to be spent on the parking lots’ maintenance and management, as well as construction of new parking lots and development of transport infrastructure. However, the state auditors found that this money, €9.113 million in total, was channeled into Rigas Satiksme municipal transport company’s budget, making its use untraceable.

The Rīga City Council is under pressure from the government after a corruption scandal erupted late last year with municipal transport tenders from 2013 to 2016 and worth hundreds of millions allegedly fixed by bribery

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