Minister vows to dismiss LPA official detained over bribery

  • 2000-08-03
RIGA (BNS) - The Latvian Privatization Agency on July 31 sacked board member Didzis Azanda, who was detained on July 28 for accepting a bribe, Latvian Economics Minister Aigars Kalvitis said July 29.

Kalvitis, who also acts as the LPA state trustee and the LPA council chairman, said the agency will open a competition to fill the vacncy on the LPA board.

The minister said he was stunned by Azanda's detention for bribe-taking. He strongly denounced the actions by the LPA official and said "there is no place for such people either on the LPA board or elsewhere."

Kalvitis recalled that former economics minister Vadimirs Makarovs from Fatherland and Freedom (FF)/LNNK party had supported Azanda's appointment to the LPA board back then, although this decision resulted in serious disagreement between Makarovs and the then premier Andris Skele as well as other ruling coalition partners.

Part of the responsibility now lies with Makarovs, who earlier made public allegations about major corruption in the LPA over the Latvian Shipping Co. privatization which turned out to be false while "nominating a petty briber-taker to the LPA board," Kalvitis said.

The Security Police detained Azanda for bribe-taking. The LPA board member was detained red-handed, as he accepted a bribe of $5,000.

A criminal case was opened over the bribery, and the investigation is being carried out.

The bribery was related to the auction of a facility in the Latvian sea-side resort city Jurmala which was held July 28. A set of buildings owned by the to-be-privatized state-held health facility Kurortu Direkcija was put up for the auction at the initial sales price of 13,000 lats and was eventually acquired by Invest One company president Igors Graurs, who bought the facility as an individual for 14,500 lats ($24,000).