State institutions should not organize parties at taxpayer expense, but rather give a simple "thank you" to their employees on national holidays, Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma (Unity) said while commenting on violations that the State Audit Office has found at the Ministry of Agriculture, reports LETA.
"I personally believe that holidays should be celebrated at state institutions. [..] They should not organize parties, but rather say ‘thank you’ for their employees' work," Straujuma said.
When asked about unauthorized expenses, Straujuma said that first it is important to find out whether the ministry really did have such expenses. "If the ministry's state secretary did break the law, she will be held responsible for her actions," Straujuma said.
She added that a ministry official was in charge of the particular situation, and the minister should not take full responsibility. "The minister is responsible for political decisions, but not every financial document means a political decision. There are 10,000 persons and several institutions in the system and the minister cannot control every single financial document," Straujuma explained.
Some of the funds that were meant for government institutions to prepare for Latvia's presidency at the Council of the European Union were often spent on other purposes (employee parties), the State Audit Office council member Marita Salgrave earlier told reporters.
One example of this: the Ministry of Agriculture used funds to pay bonuses to 65 of its employees, clearly out of line with how the funds were meant to be spent.