Environment Ministry could rule to suspend Rīga mayor within three weeks

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Assessment of the legality of Riga Mayor Nils Ušakovs' (Harmony) actions by the Ministry of Regional Development and Environmental Protection could be completed in three weeks, and if it turns out that Ušakovs has violated the law he will be promptly suspended from his job, Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce (For Development/For) said in an interview with LNT television March 7.

The probe into Ušakovs' actions must strictly adhere to all legal requirements, as there have been cases when courts dismissed the results of probes that were not done in perfect accord with the law, said the minister.

The probe under way at the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry is not political, as it has all been organized and performed by the ministry's employees who are politically neutral persons, said Pūce.

"This process has never been political, and I am not planning it to be a political decision. But I am fully confident that I will be acting within the scope of the law and, should the law be violated, the officials who do it will be punished," said Pūce.

When asked when the probe could be completed, Pūce said it could happen in about three weeks.

Rīga mayor Nils Ušakovs is under flak as, being the mayor, he is the responsible shareholder at the Rīgas satiksme municipal transport company. It is currently being investigated for possible large-scale bribery and profiteering, with the Rīgas Karte company, owned by Rīgas satiksme, most recently being dragged into the scandal as well

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