Usakovs to appeal court decision on ousting him as Riga mayor, pointing at conflict of interests

  • 2020-04-08
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Former Riga Mayor, now MEP Nils Usakovs (Harmony) will appeal the first instance court's decision on ousting him as the Riga mayor, Usakovs told LETA.

An administrative district court on Wednesday rejected politician Nils Usakovs (Harmony) lawsuit contesting Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Puce's (For Development/For) decree dismissing Usakovs as chairman of Riga City Council.

Usakovs said that the court's decision was not a surprise for him.

He said that all documents for the court are prepared by the Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry's employees, which is in itself a matter of conflict of interests. And the judge of the case is former lawyer of the ministry who worked with the same employees who prepared documents for the court.

Usakovs said that his lawyer earlier asked to replace the judge, but the judge announced that she is independent and has not worked in the ministry for the past four years.

Puce in his decree on firing Usakovs had mentioned several violations allegedly committed by Usakovs as Riga mayor and the official in charge of the management of Rigas Satiksme municipal transport company. 

The court pointed out that as head of the local authority, Usakovs was responsible for the lawfulness of the local authority's actions, including the management of municipal companies. 

The court found that the way investments had been made in Rigas Satiksme was unlawful. As a result of the unlawful investing, the local authority's assets decreased by EUR 18,432,000. The court found that this violation alone was serious enough to justify Usakovs' removal from the position of Riga mayor. Moreover, the court found that as Riga mayor, Usakovs had systematically committed unlawful acts already previously by mishandling the local authority's assets.

The court dismissed other allegations mentioned in Puce's decree as groundless or insignificant. 

The court ruled that Usakovs' removal from the post of Riga mayor had been necessary, proportionate and adequate considering his violations. 

The verdict can be appealed before the administrative regional court within a month. 

As reported, Puce issued a decree to sack Usakovs as Riga mayor on April 5, 2019. The minister blamed Usakovs for a number of violations, including in connection to the mismanagement of Rigas Satiksme. 

After being sacked as Riga mayor, Usakovs was elected to the European Parliament on the Harmony ticket.