Loskutovs' fate still in the balance

  • 2007-10-31
  • Staff and wire reports

IN LIMBO: The political battle to sack the head of the anti-corruption bureau rages on as Parliament sends the case back to committee and the government disregards the prosecutor's complaints.

RIGA - Parliament Legal Committee Head Mareks Seglins told journalists on Oct. 30 that the government committee charged with assessing the high-profile sacking of anti-corruption bureau (KNAB) head Aleksejs Loskutovs failed to assess all of the data available and sent the case to Parliament too soon.
Seglins said that after consulting with Chief Auditor Inguna Sudraba and Prosecutor General Janis Maizitis, the parliamentary committee concluded that the government needed to produce more details on the case before taking it to a vote

He said the initial findings did not provide any evidence of the mishandling of funds or even mention any of the specific sectors of the organization which were involved.
"I think the government committee did not check into many issues… It has not gone through everything in detail," he said.
Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis' Sept. 24 suspension of the KNAB chief has led to a massive row in which opposition parties and non-governmental organizations accused the move of being politically motivated. The disagreement has led the government into a crisis 's an unfavorable vote on the outright sacking would almost certainly result in the government's collapse.
President Valdis Zatlers told journalists on Oct. 30 that the question should not be allowed to return to a government committee, as this would eventually lead to unacceptably long delays in coming to a final ruling on the issue.

"It might be pushed back and forth between the government and Parliament… New facts will emerge, and everything will have to be started from the beginning," the president said.
The prime minister, meanwhile, has chosen to disregard the complaint filed by the Prosecutor General's office that the initial suspension of Loskutovs was done illegally.
Kalvitis replied to the protest with a letter in which he said that he disagrees with the position of the prosecutor's office and considers its arguments unsubstantiated. "If this objection of the Prosecutor General's Office was correct, I could not initiate disciplinary cases against the head of any subordinated administrative institution," the prime minister said in his letter.

In Chief Prosecutor Janis Maizitis' complaint to the prime minister, he argued that because the KNAB director is a politically appointed position, only the Prosecutor General or the parliament has the legal right to suspend him.
Maizitis will now have one month to decide whether to file a lawsuit which, if successful, would force the prime minister to acknowledge that his suspension of the KNAB chief was illegal.