Kalvitis blames Repse, Gulbis for state financial losses

  • 2006-07-12
  • By TBT staff

DON'T LOOK AT ME: Repse will have to assume responsibility for the state loss of more than 4 million lats (5.7 million euros).

RIGA - Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis said that the officials responsible for losses incurred during the construction of Latvia's eastern border should receive adequate punishment.

In an interview with Latvia's LNT commercial television, the prime minister blamed former government officials - Einars Repse and Maris Gulbis - for suspending construction on the state border. The reason behind the move, Kalvitis added, was merely to raise their popularity ratings.

"We can see that populism costs us dearly. Populists must assume responsibility, in this case for millions of lats," Kalvitis said.
He emphasized that the situation must be assessed by the Prosecutor's Office, otherwise it will be difficult for him, as prime minister, to bear responsibility. "There are specific losses, and somebody has to assume responsibility," Kalvitis said.

The Latvian government asked the Prosecutor's Office on July 11 to assess the losses incurred during the postponed construction work.

An investment project for building the infrastructure of Latvia's eastern border was launched in 1997. The goal of the project was to set up a safe, well-equipped outer border of Latvia and the European Union. In the period between 1997 and January this year, 36.74 million lats (52.27 million euros) were spent on the project.

In 2003, the Latvian government terminated contracts with several construction companies involved in the project, taking into account state audit results and the lack of funding.

The interruption of construction work incurred a loss of 4.176 million lats to the state. Construction resumed a year ago.