According to Morozovs, the dismissals are somehow concerned with commercial interests centering on a plot of land in the exclusive Mežaparks district where the Zoo is located, which was transferred to Riga Zoo for free use in 2011. The land with an area of 22 873 square meters is located on Ezermalas Street, Cimzes Street.
“Now this property has become an object of interest. With the dismissal of the board, the ground has been prepared for the expropriation of Rīga city property,” Morozovs said in a statement.
He stated that a land use contract had been concluded for a period of 10 years but the municipal executive had claimed violation of the rules on the use of the land by the zoo including alleged unlawful construction and storage of waste on the site. Morozovs rejected the accusations.
He and Lidaka - a former Saeima deputy and prominent naturalist - are due to give more details at a press conference later in the day.
A statement from Rīga City Council said Lidaka and Morozovs had been relived of their duties "due to the fact that last year's zoo audit found a number of irregularities that have a significant impact on the operation of the zoo, as well as activities carried out that do not conform to a sound economic model."
The Council listed various other grievances with the pair, too, saying that municipal land on Ezermalas Street, which was given to the zoo for gratuitous use, had been used as a dumping ground, and that there were irregularities with the procedure by which the zoo's café had been leased and the unusually high level of renumeration enjoyed by some of the zoo directors.
Meanwhile, Tropical Month continues at the Zoo until February 23.