Disagreements continue at Rīga City Council

In Riga City Council, the commission established with the support of the opposition to investigate alleged offenses in the Transport Department, which led to the collapse of the coalition and the resignation of Mayor Mārtiņš Staķis (Progressives/For!), has renewed the two previously suspended officials in their offices, Latvian Television reported July 17.

The disciplinary proceedings were initiated in the Transport Department because of three alleged infringements, which could have resulted the Rīga city council an EUR 1.6 million loss. The commission concluded that it was not possible to take a decision on two alleged offenses, but in the third question did not see the infringement, so the previously suspended head of the department Jānis Vaivods and employee Andrejs Urtāns have been renewed in their posts.

Riga City Executive Director Jānis Lange said at a press conference on Monday that the commission concluded that a decision on disciplinary sanctions could not be taken in two possible violations, as additional circumstances are needed, which are not within the competence of this commission.

Lange himself acknowledged that he did not agree with the commission's conclusions.

On the other hand, the head of the New Unity council faction, Olasf Pulks, told the media that in the commission's report everyone saw what they wanted to see, but he read in it that “the existence and extent of losses cannot be determined”.

Meanwhile, on Monday, July 17, the Latvian transparency organization Delna published an interim report stating that in its opinion, “the disciplinary proceedings started correctly, in accordance with the normal procedure, until the Riga City Council's decision on setting up an investigation commission and taking over” was taken.

“Such a decision was [..] illogical and inappropriate,” Delna said.

But the party Progressives, in a statement to the media, said the Transport Department's investigation of offenses has been sabotaged, and that the creation of the Commission intervened in the investigation initiated by the Executive Director and succeeded in delaying it.

Consequently, “Progressive” relies on law enforcement authorities, which are already investigating the violations identified in the Transport Department, and calls for State audit to be involved and to investigate in depth the situation in the Transport Department of Rīga City Council.

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