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Someone must be held responsible for violations at the Freeport of Riga - State Audit Office

Apr 03, 2013
From wire reports

Someone must be held responsible for violations at the Freeport of Riga - State Audit Office
Auditor General Elita Krumina.

RIGA - Freeport of Riga CEO Leonids Loginovs is not irreplaceable, nevertheless, the prosecutor office’s conclusions are necessary to evaluate his performance besides the State Audit Office’s report, Freeport of Riga board chairman Andris Ameriks said in an interview with Latvian State Radio. The Audit Office’s conclusions must be verified by the prosecutor’s office because the port does not agree with all allegations included in the Audit Office’s report, stressed Ameriks. If the prosecutor’s office confirms the violations established by the Audit Office, the entire legal department of the port will have to be dismissed, added Ameriks.

It is important that the port, where about 20,000 people work, is not destroyed due to various political ambitions, said Ameriks. The port’s cargo turnover is also remarkable.
As reported, Ameriks called an extraordinary Freeport of Riga board’s meeting to discuss CEO Leonids Loginovs’ suitability for his job.

During the extraordinary meeting, four Freeport of Riga board members representing the government voted for dismissing Loginovs, whereas all four Riga City Council representatives on the port’s board voted against, therefore Loginovs survived the vote of no confidence.
At the same time, the port’s board agreed that the port’s quality monitoring commission would also appraise other Freeport of Riga Authority’s employees and their responsibility for violations in the port’s operations. “Unfortunately, state and municipal representatives’ concepts of good governance differ starkly,” the Freeport of Riga board member Eriks Skapars (Unity) told reporters after the meeting.

The State Audit Office has concluded that the actions of the Freeport of Riga’s management are not in line with good governance principles and the applicable laws and regulations, as a result, there have been several violations and funding misuse cases and the port has lost more than 41 million lats (58.3 million euros) altogether in 2009-2011.
Auditor General Elita Krumina believes that someone must immediately be held responsible for the violations uncovered at the Freeport of Riga, and not wait until representatives of law enforcement institutions arrive. Krumina told LETA that the vote of no confidence at the Freeport of Riga cannot be seen as the port’s board supporting the violations and the squandering of funds that have take place at the port, as the point of view of four out the port’s eight board members is not the point of view of the whole board.

At the same time, the State Audit Office also is perplexed by excuses made by some port officials about the results of the audit. ‘’The audit we carried out clearly shows systematic violations, thus somebody must be held responsible immediately, instead of waiting for law enforcement officers to come get them,’’ Krumina said. Therefore, the State Audit Office urges the government and the Riga City Council to not delay and look for some ‘’mystical arbitrator’’, but immediately bring the port and its operations into order.

Riga City Council must evaluate the work of its representatives on the Freeport of Riga’s board, the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry’s representative on the port’s board Inga Antane believes. Antane points out that the city council’s representatives on the port’s board initially attempted to delay the State Audit Office’s report being made public, and later these same representatives voted to retain Loginovs, even though he is suspected of misusing millions of the port’s funds.

“Riga City Council should evaluate whether the inaction of its Freeport of Riga board members should be allowed. Does Riga City Council truly not care that millions have been squandered at the port?’’ Antane asks.

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