RIGA - The Unity political alliance must apply tough measures against its member Silva Bendrate (New Era), who had for many years hidden the fact that she accepted money and worked in the interest of Latvia’s most notorious oligarch, said former Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga in an interview on Latvian Radio on Oct. 29, reports news agency LETA. The former Latvian president, keeping a watchful eye on government now as a private citizen, admitted that she is seriously concerned about Bendrate’s actions, because she had hidden for many years the fact that she accepted money and worked in the interests of an oligarch.
Vike-Freiberga believes that Unity must reassess this whole affair, so as to observe the honesty principles the political union had preached during the pre-election campaign.
Despite calls from Transparency International Latvia-Delna and various party colleagues for newly elected Saeima Deputy Bendrate to put down her deputy mandate, she has no intention of doing so. “I will not put down my deputy mandate,” exclaimed Bendrate.
Unity political alliance representative Aleksejs Loskutovs, whose party Society for Different Politics is one of the three parties that make up the Unity political alliance, personally believes that Bendrate must put down her mandate. Loskutovs, who was previously the head of the Corruption Prevention Bureau, emphasized that he is concerned about the influence Bendrate’s business dealings will have on her work in parliament. According to Loskutovs, it must be evaluated whether Bendrate’s actions comply with party ethics and her promises to voters.
Information appeared recently on the social activist Web site Pietiek.com regarding a trust agreement made between Bendrate and controversial Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs (For Latvia and Ventspils) in the late 1990s, whereby Bendrate acquired shares on Lembergs’ behalf in Kurzemes Radio, where she also held the post of creative director.
Bendrate hid this fact from her party colleagues and the public for over 13 years. According to the agreement, she was basically Lembergs’ puppet at the radio station.
On Oct. 26, Transparency International Latvia - Delna sent a letter to Bendrate, urging her to assess her actions and put down her deputy mandate. Delna believes Bendrate has deceived the trust of her voters, said the letter.