The head of Riga City Council’s For Latvia’s Development faction member Viesturs Zeps has released an announcement in which it is stated that he has decided to turn to the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) with a request for an investigation. This time KNAB is asked to investigate the procurement organised by Rīgas ūdens and the now ex-Mayor of Riga Mārtiņš Staķis’ role in it.
Rīgas ūdens installed a total of 12 new public water fountains in the city. Zeps, after studying documents related to the procurement, found that those fountains are surprisingly similar to the ones offered by the company Baltic Water, which Staķis co-owns.
this company’s offer was the only one that qualified for the procurement.
Because of suspicions of potential foul play in the procurement, Zeps has decided to ask KNAB to investigate this situation.
He explains: “I get uneasy while studying the procurement and possible ties with Staķis – there is potential for a number of unethical and conflict of interests situations. For example, artificial tenders were organised in which the only suppliers were companies with ties to ex-mayor Staķis. I was surprised when Staķis’ business won in the procurement organised by Rīgas ūdens for the supply of coffee, but the public fountain procurement seems almost unreal by comparison. This is why I have suspicions about a potential backstage deal, or rather imposition of services. This is why I have asked KNAB to investigate.”
Zeps said that a look at the public fountains in Riga and analysis of available procurement-related documents reveal that the technical requirements in the procurement had been composed specifically to suit a specific company – King Coffee Service. It also owns the Baltic Water brand. Additionally, the photo that details procurement specifications coincides with specifications of products available on Baltic Water website. Other parameters are similar as well.
BNN reminds – members of For Latvia’s Development Riga City Council faction (Zeps, Iveta Ratinīka and Anete Jēkabsone-Žogota) are not part of the leading majority, because they were expelled from the faction with Progressive and Par! due to problems with their party’s reputation.
In June opposition deputy Zeps turned to KNAB and the Ministry of Environment Protection and Regional Development, asking the two institutions to look into Staķis’ possible illegal activities in organising his own and other deputies’ business trips.
On the 13th of July Zeps lost his position as board member of Riga Freeport, because the government replaced him with Riga City Council deputy Edgars Štelmahers. Zeps considers this decision illegal and considers challenging it in a court of law.
Also read: New details surface about Riga City Council’s spending during Mārtiņš Staķis’ term