Previous defense minister's political representative was involved in awarding EUR 220 million food supply contract - Murniece

  • 2023-02-21
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - A representative of previous defense minister Artis Pabriks' (Development) political bureau was involved in deciding the outcome of a EUR 220 million tender to supply food to the armed forces, Defense Minister Inara Murniece (National Alliance) said in an interview with TV3 on Tuesday.

"The first conclusions are unpleasant," the minister said, commenting on the initial assessment of the procurement process. "An unusual situation has occurred - a representative of the previous minister's political bureau was present at the procurement commission and decided on specific requirements related to this procurement". 

Murniece has therefore ordered a detailed inquiry into the food supply tender. The inquiry, which will involve the Defense Ministry's Audit Department, will be carried out in "three to four areas". In ten days, the minister expects an in-depth assessment of the tender so that she can decide on how to proceed. 

As reported, Zitari LZ, a catering company based in Roja, western Latvia, has been awarded a EUR 220 million contract to supply food to the National Armed Forces (NAF) for the next five years, according to information available from the public procurement database.

Zitari LZ won a tender for the rights to supply food to the armed forces, organized by the State Centre for Defense Logistics and Procurement of the Latvian Ministry of Defense.

Other companies competing for the five-year contract included Lanekss, Rezeknes Galas Kombinats, Sanitex, as well as partnership comprising Latvijas Tirgotaju Savieniba, Lats Veikali, Santaro, Beatus, Sulema, Rijupe, Eirospars, IG Centrs, Elli V un ZS Kumelites.

Zitari LZ won the competition with its bid scoring the maximum number of points.

According to information from, Zitari LZ, established 30 years ago, belongs to Laura Zeltina, who also chairs the company's board, and lawyer Modris Supe.

In 2021, Zitari LZ turned over EUR 562,498 and generated EUR 141,546 in profit. The company operates four dining rooms in Talsi and Riga, a bistro in Roja, and a cafe and pizzeria in Ventspils.