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Saeima okays penalizing Health Minister Belēvičs

After a request by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB), the Latvian parliament voted Thursday for handing Health Minister Guntis Belēvičs (Greens and Farmers Union) to administrative punishment, reported LSM's Latvian-language service Thursday.

Belēvičs was greenlighted to be punished for two cases when, according to KNAB, the minister had been in a conflict of interest.

In one of the cases Belēvičs had started disciplinary proceedings against the head of the State Medicines Agency Inguna Adoviča when a company owned by Belēvičs' son filed a complaint. The Saeima Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee denied the request earlier.

While on Thursday 74 MPs voted for handing Belēvičs to punishment and three abstained. No one voted against.

While in the second case, Belēvičs had, according to KNAB, been in a conflict of interest when deciding that his son Artūrs Belēvičs would be included on the Consultancy Council of the Pharmacy Industry.

This decision to hand him for penalization was supported by 79 MPs, six abstained and one voted against. 

Belēvičs denied that there was a conflict of interest in these cases. 

This year Belēvičs has come under the watch 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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