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Rīga transport official suspended from duties again

Rīga mayor Mārtiņš Staķis (For!/Progressives) announced May 26 that he was suspending the director of the city council's transport department, Vitālijs Reinbahs, over allegations of possible fictitious employment contracts and misuse of municipal funds.

Deputy Mayor Vilnis Ķirsis (New Unity) told journalists during an online press conference that he had received information from a whistleblower about potential violations including bogus employment contracts, waste of municipal resources and conflicts of interest. Reinbahs is suspended pending further investigations.

Staķis said that the decision to suspend Reinbahs was made after a long analysis, while Ķirsis cited examples of delays in clearing snow, inadequate street cleaning, problems with construction of bicycle lanes and repair costs of the important Vanšu bridge across the River Dauagava.

Reinbahs himself believes that the dismissal is the result of a long-term campaign against him. "Realizing that there were no legal grounds for my dismissal, other methods were used," he said in a press release, claiming he had been presented with impractical deadlines and other forms of pressure in order to force him out.

It is not the first time Reinbahs has been suspended from his important position. I was suspended in 2015 by the Unity faction of the city council, but he retained his position. In 2016 then-mayor Nils Ušakovs (Harmony) sacked him but Reinbahs appealed against the decision and in 2019 was reinstated by a court decision.

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