Anti-graft agency restructuring despite turmoil

Take note – story published 9 years and 10 months ago

Latvia's dedicated anti-graft police, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) will soon see the addition of a new administrative structure – the secretariat.

According to information obtained by Latvian Television (LTV), computer specialist Mara Priedite is in line to lead the KNAB Secretariat. Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma has reportedly approved the regulations creating the new department prior to taking her vacation.

Several unnamed KNAB staff have expressed concern that the new executive department will oversee not just the protection of the internal confidentiality regime, but also public relations, official business travel, cooperation with international organizations, as well as the processing of application submissions, where embattled former KNAB deputy director Juta Strike is currently serving in a demoted minor administrative position.

Another controversial character amongst the pending personnel at the emerging KNAB Secretariat is policy planning specialist Alvils Strikeris, whose extra-curricular activities include making music with explicit lyrics. He has declined to comment whether his leisure-time hobby may or may not cast a shadow over his direct responsibilities as a state anti-corruption officer.

Trouble within the ranks of KNAB is nothing new. The agency has been in turmoil almost without a break ever since 2007 when a government attempt to sack the respected then-director Aleksejs Loskutovs backfired and contributed to the collapse of the government of Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis.

Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma in May described the situation at KNAB as “absurd” and subsequently voiced the opinion that Strelcenoks should consider resigning. He responded by revealing that an investigation was underway into Straujuma's own business dealings concerning an alleged conflict of interest.

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