Latvia’s Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry's State Secretary Aleksandrs Antonovs has refused to comment on whether Minister Einars Cilinskis' (All For Latvia-For Fatherland And Freedom/LNNK) decision to suspend him from the post is justified, reports LETA.
Antonovs told LETA that he did not want to comment on the minister's decision as this could influence the disciplinary investigative commission's work.
Cilinskis on Feb. 26 decided to suspend Antonovs. The decision was made as it is possible Antonovs could influence the legal solution in regard to the situation surrounding Karva Hydropower Plant, LETA was told by the ministry's public relations department.
The final decision on whether to dismiss Antonovs will be made after receiving the final report from the disciplinary investigation commission, Cilinskis points out. He added that this will be handled within the next week.
The official investigation into officials' responsibility for allocating funds to the Karva plant project previously concluded that Antonovs had violated several regulations, which enabled the Karva project developers to receive state funding. As a result, the state has suffered losses in the amount of approximately 498,000 euros.
LETA also reported that the dispute concerns Antonovs' decision to authorize state co-financing of 500,000 euros to the company Patina, contrary to the then-Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Edmunds Sprudzs' order to halt State Environmental Investment Fund's cooperation with the company.
Environmental protection organizations blame Patina for destroying the natural environment of the Karva River by building the hydropower plant. Valmiera Administrative District Court has ruled that the construction permit for building the power plant was illegitimate. Patina has appealed the ruling.