Court rules against taking former Border Guard Chief Garbars into custody

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Despite a request from the Internal Security Bureau to take former Border Guard Normunds Garbars into custody as a security measure, the Riga Vidzeme District Court ruled against the request this evening.

Garbars did not give any comments to members of the press after the ruling.

As reported, the Internal Security Bureau has detained, but since released, two employees of road construction company Celu Buvniecibas Sabiedriba Igate (Igate) along with the former State Border Guard Chief Normunds Garbars.

Igate representative Janis Stundins confirmed to LETA that the detainees were two Igate employees involved in a border infrastructure development project. "The Internal Security Bureau earlier asked the company for details about this project, and Igate has been cooperating with the bureau to provide the information they need," Stundins said.

In 2015, the Border Guard concluded an agreement with Igate for construction of infrastructure along the border. In October 2017, the government allowed the Interior Ministry to take on long-term obligations so it could allot more than EUR 31 million for strengthening Latvia's borders with Russia and Belarus between 2017 and 2020.

The project stipulated that up to EUR 20,557,173 would be allocated over three years for border infrastructure development at the Latvian-Russian border and up to EUR 10,682,585 for the same purpose at the Latvian-Belarusian border.

LETA also reported, the Internal Security Bureau informed LETA yesterday that it had detained deputy head of the Border Guard's Armaments, Logistics and Technical Resources Department who formerly was the Border Guard's chief, as well as two representatives of a road construction company on suspicion of financial fraud and violations committed during infrastructure development at Latvian-Russian and Latvian-Belarusian border.

One more Border Guard official has been charged in the criminal case, the Internal Security Bureau said.

The Internal Security Bureau will not disclose further information for the time being so as not to impede the investigation.

Garbars retired from the Border Guard this past January.

The law stipulates that the head of the Border Guard is appointed by the interior minister for a term of five years after the candidate has been approved by the Cabinet. Although in 2016 the government extended Garbar's term of office until 2021, Garbars resigned in January after reaching the retirement age.

Garbars, born in 1969, was appointed head of the Border Guard in 2009, before that he was the head of the Border Guard's Riga Administration. 

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