Corruption chief calls for deputy to be sacked despite PM intervention

  • 2014-01-08
  • From wire reports, RIGA

Corruption Prevention Bureau's chief Jaroslavs Strelcenoks will suspend his deputy Juta Strike from job today or later this week, Strelcenoks said in an interview with LNT television .

Strike, fired by Strelcenoks shortly before Christmas but reinstated by Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis on Tuesday, will be suspended from job "until the fact-finding process" is completed

Strelcenoks explained that Strike had to be suspended because, already the day she was fired, he had informed the Constitutional Protection Bureau that Strike should be denied access to classified information, and she cannot do her work without having access to classified information.

The final decision on suspending Strike will be taken today or in the coming days.

Strelcenoks also told LNT that there was little he could do, because he could not appeal the premier's decision to reinstate Strike. Strelcenoks believes that Dombrovskis is acting beyond his authority, which has created a dangerous precedent.

According to Strelcenoks, he has two options at the moment. One option is to step down - he has seriously considered this because he does not want to be held responsible "for what Strike has done". Nevertheless, he eventually chose the other option, which is to not give up and continue work.

Strelcenoks stressed repeatedly that Dombrovskis' decision to reinstate Strike was not well thought out. He explained that he had presented the premier all the relevant information regarding his decision to fire Strike - a report 275 pages long - in the morning of January 7, but Dombrovskis decided to reinstate Strike just four hours later.

According to Strelcenoks, all three reasons presented by Dombrovskis were either unfounded or unimportant. Dombrovskis criticized the assessment of Strike's performance, while Strelcenoks believes that the assessment was legitimate and necessary. Dombrovskis said that Strike was released without harmonizing the issue with the trade union, but Strelcenoks insists that this was not necessary.

Finally, Dombrovskis said that the decision on releasing Strike indicated a wrong procedure of appeal, whereas Strelcenoks emphasizes that the Corruption Prevention Bureau received the Supreme Court's explanations regarding the applicable procedure in such cases only couple days ago.

As reported, Dombrovskis on Tuesday overturned Strelcenoks' decision to fire his deputy Strike.

The prime minister's press secretary Martins Panke told LETA that the State Chancellery's legal experts have evaluated the legality of Strelcenoks' order to fire his deputy, and felt certain enough to overturn the decision.
The legal experts deemed Strelcenoks' decision to fire Strike illegitimate, and cited several clauses in the Labor Law which have been breached, LETA was informed by the State Chancellery's communications department.

Dombrovskis emphasized to members of the press that the decision to release Strike would not solve any of the problems at the bureau. It is very likely that the next government will have to try to solve these problems, Dombrovskis said, adding that the prime minister's office had received many signatures of support for Strike, and thus believed he had to act.

The prime minister emphasizes he has the right to review any order made by the Corruption Prevention Bureau's chief, and if any decision made by the bureau is deemed illegitimate, he has the right to overturn it.