Latvija in brief

  • 2015-04-04

CPB embroiled in lawsuits

The Corruption Prevention Bureau (CPB) is currently embroiled in eight lawsuits filed against the bureau by former and current employees, CPB Chief Jaroslavs Strelcenoks said in an interview with the Latvian Television show Rita Panorama. Strelcenoks stressed that some of the lawsuits had been launched several years ago. Strelcenoks added that the CPB has lost only one lawsuit so far.

He did not agree that these legal proceedings meant that state funds had been wasted. He also denied information that the proceedings supposedly cost the bureau 40,000 euros. “This information is false and has nothing to do with the facts. I can inform you that litigation with employees, where the final verdict has come into effect, cost [the bureau] less than 10,000 euros in the case of Juta Strike,” Strelcenoks said.

As reported, Strelcenoks decided on 20 Dec last year to fire Strike over “systematic violations” on her part, however, the court overruled his decision. After being reinstated in her job, Strike was demoted by Strelcenoks.

Caught sap handed

The legend goes that Robin Hood and his merry men used to venture through forests, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. But there is no way of telling whether one of Latvia’s birch sap thieves, who was caught by authorities on March 23, was fuelled by similar motives.

This season, Latvian State Forests (LVM) has recorded several cases of birch trees being illegally tapped on property managed by LVM. Fines for this activity may reach as high as 700 euros. Now that the weather is becoming warmer, people are beginning to collect birch sap, an activity closely monitored by LVM. Last week, LVM Security and Control Department operatives came across 22 holes in several birch trees. The perpetrator was established on March 23, and he has admitted his crime.

The offender initially claimed that the sap, which was found in extra-large-sized rubbish bags, was being collected for personal consumption. Evidence collected at the scene will be forwarded to the State Forest Service for processing an administrative offence for unwarranted damage to flora. There are several laws that must be followed while collecting birch sap to ensure that the tree remains unscathed.

Just one tree can be tapped for private consumption by any one person on each property managed by LVM. The hole must be made at least 50 centimeters from ground and on a tree of at least 40 centimetres in diameter; furthermore, it should not exceed 5 centimetres in depth as the sap flows under the bark.

If a resident wants to tap several holes, he or she must take care of payment according to LVM’s price list. A sales contract is signed, and LVM specifies where the tree can be tapped so that the least amount of damage is inflicted. In order to receive such permission, residents are urged to contact the LVM authority that manages the particular territory.