Corruption watchdog swoops on former Agriculture Minister

A criminal case has been launched against former Agriculture Minister Roberts Dilba, who has been leading the State Joint Stock Company “Ministry of Agriculture Real Estate” (ZMNĪ) since 2004, regarding suspected abuse of position for a material purpose, Latvian Television reported on August 30.

Former company board member Sergejs Zikins is also suspected. The investigation was launched in May this year according to the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB).

The active phase of the pre-trial investigation is ongoing.

The process is related to procurement for the management of the Ministry of Agriculture (ZM) high-rise office block in Rīga, Latvian Television said. The State JSC “Ministry of Agriculture Real Estate” is fully owned by the Agriculture Ministry.

Dilba was a member of the 6th Saeima and served as Agriculture Minister from 1996-7, resigning following a controversy concerning undeclared assets. But he later became an employee at the Ministry he once headed, and in 2014 was handed the ministry's highest award by Agriculture Minister Jānis Dūklavs (his former colleague at agricultural academy) in the form of a medal  for "For dedication" to his work.

On August 11, the ZM's State Secretary Raivis Kronbergs removed Zikins from his post, while Dilba announced on the same date that he would be leaving his post on August 31.

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