New potential anti-corruption chief selected

  • 2009-02-10
  • TBT staff

The selection process for the new KNAB chief has been ongoing since June 2008

RIGA- The National SecurityCouncil has chosen one of the two candidates to be the new chief of theCorruption Prevention and Combatting Bureau  (KNAB) and are prepared to recommend him tothe government's Cabinet.

After the National SecurityCouncil meeting,  Foreign Minister MarisRiekstins told the press that the National Security Council has recommendedNormunds Vilnitis for further consideration as the new KNAB chief.

Following the meeting,Prosecutor General Janis Maizitis told the press that interviewing thecandidates during several meetings had been a test and Vilnitis had done betterthan the other candidate, Arturs Zvejsalnieks.

Maizitis said that furthernomination of Vilnitis as KNAB chief was the responsibility of the politicians.The prosecutor general could not say whether Vilnitis would eventually beappointed as the new KNAB chief.

When asked about theimplications of such long review of candidates, who were interviewed by theNational Security Council during the three successive meetings, Maizitis said:"This is the negative side of organizing competitions to fill a vacancy --you don't know those people."

In response to a questionwhether political past by Vilnitis should not be a cause of concern, theprosecutor general said that Vilnitis should distance himself from hispolitical past. The candidate did not attempt to hide his former interest inpolitics, added Maizitis.

He said that KNAB hadremained without a leader for a long time and it was a dangerous situation.

Interior Minister MareksSeglins also said that Vilnitis had been better that Zvejsalnieks in terms ofhis knowledge of law as well as work and life experience.

Vilnitis is a board memberof KKC Biznesa Centrs and Komerckonsultaciju Centrs. Before taking up business,he used to be a lecturer in the LatvianPoliceAcademy and the College of Law.

Vilnitis obtained the Master'sdegree in law at the LatvianPoliceAcademy and is presently for his PhD at M.V.LomonosovMoscowStateUniversity.

Aleksejs Loskutovs, theprevious KNAB chief was fired from the position by the Latvian parliament inJune 2008 after two employees in the anti-corruption office were caughtpocketing bureau funds.