Rīga City Council official suspended over bribery allegations

Rīga Mayor Vilnis Ķirsis (New Unity) has issued an order to suspend Jānis Vaivods, the acting director of the Riga City Council (RD) Department of Outdoors and Mobility, for three months, Latvian Television reported March 6.

Ķirsis said that during Vaivods' suspension, opportunities would be sought to dismiss him, while a bid for the position of director of RD's Department of Outdoors and Mobility would be launched after his dismissal.

Currently Rudīte Reveliņa, Head of Administration of the Transport Organization and Transport Committee, has been appointed acting Director of the Department.

Ķirsis said that as of this year, the local government law allows them to rotate employees and allows it to be applied among departments. Which employees could rotate was not disclosed.

The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) is investigating the possible offering of a large-scale bribe by the Deputy Director of the Rīga City Council's Outdoors and Mobility Department, Jānis Vaivods. As reported, on February 26, KNAB visited the city council's department and it was unofficially reported that Vaivods was detained.

Latvian Television's De Facto reported on March 3 that the offer of the alleged bribe relates to plots of land near the airport, which was auctioned by Rīga municipality two years ago. The alleged bribe, for which the KNAB suspects Vaivods, was made to Jānis Meirāns a former employee of Ķirsis' office, who now works for the Ministry of Transport.

Latvian Radio has reported that Vaivods' bribe is probably at least EUR 50 thousand.

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