RIGA - In the next three years, the Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) will concentrate its resources for combating corruption in the financial sector, judicial institutions, public procurement and Latvia's largest municipalities, according to the KNAB strategy for 2020-2022, which has been approved by Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity).
The crimes solved by the bureau so far show that the highest corruption risks are associated with public tenders involving EU co-funding, KNAB says in the document.
The largest tenders are held in Riga, as Latvia's central government institutions and largest state-owned enterprises are based in the capital city, but a significant amount of money has been spent on tenders also in Latvia's regions. Of the EUR 2.96 billion spent on procurement in 2018, 39 percent have been used for construction, 10 percent for transportation services and 9 percent for road construction and maintenance.
According to the Finance Ministry's report on the absorption of the EU's cohesion funds, local governments' projects accounted for 65 percent of all funds misappropriated in the first half of 2019.
In the next coming years, KNAB also plans to focus on fighting corruption in the financial sector, judicial institutions, healthcare, public procurement, EU-funded projects, construction and Latvia's largest municipalities.
Since the strategy period will coincide with the implementation of Latvia's largest construction project - Rail Baltica - the bureau will be paying close attention to the public officials involved in the project's management to make sure they work strictly in public interest and to prevent any third parties from making illicit gains from the project.
In each criminal case, KNAB also plans to conduct a parallel financial inquiry to identify, arrest and confiscate proceeds from crime.
In the coming years, KNAB intends to enhance the supervision of political party financing, as well as to boost the bureau's analytical, operative and investigative capabilities.
In the next three years, KNAB expects to uncover around 270 corruption-related crimes.