Anti-graft body penalizes Foreign Ministry officials

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The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) has penalized five high-ranking Foreign Ministry officials for handing out monetary awards to themselves, according to information on the Bureau's home page, LETA reported.

The ministry's State Secretary Andris Pelšs is believed to have embroiled himself in a conflict of interest situation. At the meeting of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Certification Committee last July, he participated in a decision regarding money awards to officials and employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs's central apparatus and Latvian diplomatic and consular missions, including himself.

A fine of EUR 280 has been imposed on Pelšs.

Other fines ranging from €220 to €550 have been applied to the Ministry's political director Andžejs Viļumsons, director of department Ivars Pundurs, deputy secretary of state Astra Kurme and administrative director Atis Lots.

The KNAB's decision came into force in April but has only emerged in mid-May. The size of the cash awards orginally handed out by Foreign Ministry officials to themselves was not specified in LETA's report.

According to LETA, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, on December 21 last year, when he received information on the case and assessed the circumstances, wrote a letter of reprimand to Pelšs as a result of the service inspection. All of the officials fined by KNAB have paid their penalties.

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