RIGA-- Having sent the whole country into ferment over his attempt to dismiss anti-corruption chief Aleksejs Loskutovs from his position, Latvian Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis has finally backed down. On Nov. 8 he issued an official reprimand to Aleksejs Loskutovs, who is now free to resume his duties.
A government-appointed commission conducting a disciplinary probe againstLoskutovs had recommended a reprimand as the most suitable punishment for the KNAB chief, for allegedbookkeeping irregularities found at the anti-corruption bureau. Kalvitis said that he would heed the commission's advice, though only after the matter was debated in parliament and caused thousands of protestors to take to the streets of Riga. Despite Kalvitis' denials, many people viewed the attempt to oust Loskutovs as being politically motivated.
A reprimand is the equivalent of a slapped wrist, but if Kalvitis was hoping that Loskutovs would accept the reprimand and allow the whole episode to be closed, he seems to have misjudged the situation. Loskutovs responded by saying that as he did not feel he had done anything to merit a reprimand, he would not accept it and would be appealing the decision.
Kalvitis suspended Loskutovs on September 24, but the KNAB chief has continued to report for work every day, even though he was unable to sign any documents.
A special commission was set up to assess Loskutovs'suitability for his post. The government voted to dismiss Loskutovs, but thedecision had to be approved by the parliament.
Later, the government recalled its decision on Loskutovs' sacking.