The inspection of the scandalous food procurement for the needs of Latvian National Armed Forces (NBS). This is why it was decided to commence an internal investigation, as reported by TV3 Nekā personīga with reference to unofficial information.
The programme found out that the co-owner of the firm that won in the procurement Modris Supe previously represented Russia’s interests in a major deal in Latvia. This aspect was never addressed before the start of the army procurement.
The Ministry of Defence plans to make an official report on the inspection on Tuesday, the 7th of March. At a press-conference Minister of Defence Ināra Mūrniece and the ministry’s state secretary Jānis Garisons will report on results and conclusions of the Audit and Inspections Department in regards to the procurement.
As previously reported, Roja-based company Zītari LZ was picked as the winner in the procurement organised to supply food to Latvia’s army for a period of five years. The procurement is worth EUR 220 million.
The ministry did list as to why this company was picked. However, Mūrniece also ordered an inspection of the procurement. Last year the ministry sent documents related to the procurement to the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB).
In a recent interview to TV3, Mūrniece mentioned that a representative of the previous Minister of Defence Artis Pabriks was involved in the decision-making in the massive food procurement.
KNAB is currently studying the documents related to the procurement.
Information from Firmas.lv indicates that the company in question is owned by Laura Zeltiņa and lawyer Modris Supe. The former is the beneficial owner and the company’s board chairman. According to KNAB database, in 2022 Supe donated to For Latvia’s Development political party EUR 2 500. The year before he donated EUR 2 000. In 2017 and 2015 he donated a total of EUR 10 000 to the party Honour to Serve Riga.
In 2021 the company operated with turnover of EUR 562 498 and profit of EUR 141 546. A year prior the company operated with turnover of EUR 787 051 and losses of EUR 62 399. In 2019 the company operated with a turnover of EUR 3 400 068 and profits of EUR 31 800. In 2018 the company operated with turnover of EUR 2 314 098 and profits of EUR 160 985.
The company owns four cafeterias in Talsi and Riga, a bistro in Roja, as well as a pub, cafe and pizzeria in Ventspils. Information from Firmas.lv indicates the company owns nine vehicles – four cars, four trucks and one trailer.
The company’s account for 2021 mentions that the company primarily provides catering services to Rīgas satiksme, as well as various cafes and Roja Secondary School’s cafeteria. The company also provides catering services to other legal and private persons. In 2019 the company’s operations were heavily impacted by Covid-19 pandemic, as well as various epidemiological restrictions.
The contract signed with Zītari LZ covers creation of a logistical system that unites a number of food producers and other businesses in order to ensure supply of food products to all units of the country’s National Armed Forces stationed in Latvia. According to the contract, the company is also required to secure necessary food reserves for the armed forces. The contract also requires the company to ensure production and supply of food products to the army in the event of a war.
Also read: Latvian Federation of Food Enterprises invites halting scandalous army food supply procurement