RIGA - In a special press conference today, the former head of the Corruption Prevention Bureau's (KNAB) Criminal Intelligence Process Division Juris Jurass claimed that the Nils Usakovs (Harmony) led Riga City Council is the largest ''nest of corruption'' in Latvia, while at the same time announced he will join the New Conservative Party, led by former Justice Minister Janis Bordans, and run in the Riga City Council elections.
According to Jurass, corruption has seeped into all levels of the Riga City Council, where its leader continues to arrogantly deny the existence of this problem.
The former high-ranking KNAB official, who was released by the bureau's controversial former head Jaroslavs Strelcenoks last year, also claimed that the parties currently in power in Latvia do not have a desire to fight corruption, and he is saddened to see the grim corruption situation in the country.
Taking all of this into account, Jurass has decided to join the New Conservative Party and run in the Riga elections in June. He said that he will also call on other former KNAB officials to follow his lead.
Jurass said that he decided to join Bordans' party on his own initiative. ''It was a natural choice,'' he said, adding that he has known Bordans for quite a while.
Jurass said that he does not know which former KNAB officials he will approach to offer to join Bordans' party, as some of them are appealing the decision made by the former KNAB chief of their dismissal.
The former KNAB official also said that he will not pursue efforts to fight the decision of his release from the bureau, because if he is indeed reinstated ''I would not really be working, but instead fighting for survival''.
Jurass also praised those KNAB officials who have remained in the bureau to fight corruption despite the efforts to weaken the institution by its former chief.
''There is no desire to fight corruption by the bureau's current leaders, nor the Prosecutor's Office, not even speaking about the political will to do so. One thing is clear - even if an anti-corruption institution has a strong foundation, without the political will fighting corruption is not possible. It can be said that those who have been fighting corruption have been successfully vanquished. The anti-corruption team has been disbanded, and the corrupt can now raise a toast and drink champagne,'' he said.
He believes that the corruptive systems has seeped into all levels, and practically all levels of government and local government, but added that this is most clearly visible within the Riga City Council, whose leader Usakovs is not prepared to cooperate with law enforcement on fighting corruption, but arrogantly and cynically denying that there even is a problem.
''Usakovs is basically spitting on the whole Latvian public. Everything that is happening leads me to believe that Usakovs is the administrator and leader of this corrupt system. I am probably not wrong in saying the Riga City Council is the largest nest of corruption in Latvia. It is not even possible to remember all the criminal processes which have been initiated against leading municipal officials,'' Jurass pointed out.
He said that the enemies of the state will not need tanks nor ''green men'' to take away Latvia's independence, as the enemy will ''just purchase us''. Jurass believes that there is a tolerance for corruption within society, and that many believe it to be normal occurrence. He said that this something which he and his party wish to change.
Meanwhile, Bordans himself said at the press conference that his party has been growing and deliberately has been avoiding attracting well-known persons to join its ranks, as most of them are ''hypocrites or the same old crayfish anyway''. He said that many people with independent views have been joining the party recently. He said that it will be people like Bordans who will make up the party's nucleus. Already this year, the New Conservative Party has received 90 applications from persons wishing to join the party.
It is not yet known whether Jurass will be put forward as the party's Riga mayor candidate, Bordans said, adding that it is not important which candidate has which a number of the party's ticket.
As reported, Bordans was expelled from the National Alliance in 2014 when he was serving as justice minister.
Several media outlets at the time reported possible reasons why Bordans was expelled from the party, pointing out that his activities to straighten out the bankruptcy process in Latvia angered the controversial National Alliance General Secretary Aigars Lusis, who is a bankruptcy administrator by profession.
Various media have written articles about Lusis and the various high-profile bankruptcy cases he and other bankruptcy administrators associated with the National Alliance have been involved with, where several well-known local entrepreneurs were given very favorable bankruptcy conditions.