Rīga City Council will not be sacked right now, says minister

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Rīga City Council will not be sacked at this moment, Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce (For Development/For!) said in an interview to Latvian Television April 1.

To dissolve the city council, it would take repeated violations of law on its part, Pūce said. “Some violations have been found in the city council’s work but they cannot be qualified as repeated,” the minister said.

The dissolution of the entire city council will therefore not be initiated right now, the minister said.

Meanwhile, Pūce is still waiting for Rīga Mayor Nils Usakovs’ (Harmony) explanations about the alleged violations in Rīgas Satiksme municipal transport company and the city council’s work.

Pūce noted that upon assessing his explanation a decision about the Rīga mayor would follow. “This is a matter of days. We will probably deal with it by the end of this year,” Pūce said.

The minister also said he was not surprised by Ušakovs’ public remarks about the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry’s request to him as “politicized and weak”.

Puce dismissed Ušakovs’ claim that the ministry had only detected minor violations on the city council’s party. “The impact from these violations is an estimated €70 million. I would not consider it a small impact,” Puce said.

Meanwhile, Ušakovs claimed in a phone interview that the ministry is seeking ways to fire a democratically elected mayor and threatened a scandal not only on the national but also on the European level.

As reported, the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry had given Ušakovs until March 28 a week to explain the violations found in Rīgas Satiksme and the city council.

Ušakovs sent his reply to the ministry last week. He also released a statement to the press claiming he had disproved all the allegations and criticism.

In other news, Rīgas Satiksme municipal transport company on April 1 sent the Saeima Public Expenditure and Audit Committee an audit report drawn up by Ernst & Young Baltic (EY) on the situation in the company.

In its letter to Saeima, Rīgas Satiksme notes that the audit report is essentially meant for the company’s management and owners for taking operational decisions as the report contains commercial secrets and individuals’ personal data, Rīgas Satiksme spokesman Viktors Zaķis told LETA.

In the copy of the audit report sent to the Saeima committee the individuals’ personal data have been blotted out.

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