MPs deny request to penalize Health Minister

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The Saeima Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee has denied the request by the Corruption Prevention and Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) to hand Health Minister and MP Guntis Belēvičs (Greens and Farmers Union) for penalization on grounds of suspected interest conflict, Latvian Radio reported Wednesday.

According to KNAB, Belēvičs became involved in a conflict of interest after starting disciplinary proceedings against the head of the State Medicines Agency Inguna Adoviča when a company owned by Belēvičs' son filed a complaint.

In the committee four MPs voted for penalizing Belēvičs, while four abstained.

Ilze Jurča, deputy head of the KNAB, told Latvian Radio that the fact that MPs cannot decide to hand out someone for administrative punishment leads to further violations of the law and shows the society the MPs' attitude towards the law. 

"Once again it shows the society the MPs' morale and ethics standards, how they evaluate and what they think about conflicts of interest. And all that when I related to them the matter in great detail, perhaps even in too much detail, so that it's clear for any non-believer [..]," said Jurča.

According to her, KNAB has filed another request for handing Belēvičs to administrative punishment as there's another conflict of interest seen in the activities of the official. While another is in the works as, according to KNAB, Belēvičs has not adhered to commercial law.

The end decision about handing the MP for administrative punishment is to be made by the parliament, while Belēvičs himself told during the session that he will ask Saeima for handing him to penalization so that he can defend himself in the court.

This year Belēvičs has drawn attention of the Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) and the State Revenue Service (the latter questioned his 'one million memory lapse') several times already.

Due to these probes, Belēvičs, who is also an MP, was considering to put down his mandate to make KNAB's job easier as MPs enjoy criminal and administrative immunity.

Later on he changed his mind

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