Saeima makes anti-graft squad more independent

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On Thursday Saeima adopted amendments to the Corruption and Prevention Bureau (KNAB) law, making the anti-graft authority more independent and giving its chief more power, reported LSM.

The amendments stipulate that the head of the bureau is protected from political interference and can only be fired for breaking the law or having done significant harm.

The chief will also be able to fire his subordinates more easily, without coordinating it with the trade union.

This follows years of internal wrangles, having started on the second year since Jaroslavs Streļčenoks was made head of the KNAB, that are widely assumed to have affected the bureau's operational effectiveness.

The amendments were put forward as last fall the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development voiced concerns over the bureau's role and effectiveness. 

Previously Juta Strīķe, former deputy head of the KNAB, who Streļčenoks had campaigned to fire for years, said that Streļčenoks has effectively destroyed the bureau. The bureau called the claims "lies" and said it'll decide on the steps to be taken in response. 

Recently Latvian Radio acquired a European Commission draft report urging Latvia to sort out the effectiveness of the bureau.

The report said that KNAB's effectiveness falls behind that of comparable institutions in other EU member states and the cause is the spate of personality clashes and power battles that have wracked KNAB for years.

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