Row goes public between PM and Audit Office

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"After the State Audit Office strikes, it seems they leave everything in ruins. It's their style," said PM Māris Kučinskis on May 10, commenting a recent report over mismanagement across Latvia's fire depots under the control of the Interior Ministry. 

He told LTV that, if there are people who've squandered money at Latvia's fire and rescue service, they should be punished but that subjective findings should be dismissed.

Kučinskis also called on the office to consult industry experts and the institutions they audit. 

The Audit Office soon picked up on Kučinskis' comment and responded indignantly on social media:

"Is this how [the cabinet] sees the work of the State Audit Office, or, rather, this amounts to a cover-up? You can only ruin what's built well, but this is not the case here," the audit office said. 

The audit uncovered what it claimed were numerous violations across Latvia's fire depots, including one depot being used as a hunting club and one of the rescue service's senior employees enjoying cheap rent at a firefighters' college. 

However, the choice of language employed by the PM, plus the outraged response from auditors is unlikely to help current efforts by officials to portray the state administration to international partners as tough on financial impropriety of all kinds.

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