Corruption watchdog officer interviewed LU vice-rector following some person’s request

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University of Latvia vice-rector and Riga City Council deputy Baiba Broka, who was detained on Monday, 8 July, and then subsequently released from custody is fully prepared to cooperate with Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) in the investigation of the criminal case regarding the EUR 20 000 bribe.

The suspended vice-rector added that she is also prepared to provide answers to journalists, because she believes corruption has no place in Latvia, Riga, work or life in general, as Baiba Broka wrote on her Facebook page.

In her Facebook entry, Broka also mentioned that she has decided to not take post as deputy chairperson of National Alliance «All for Latvia-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK» faction in Riga City Council.

The politician explains that yesterday was very stressful for her. «Mass media have reported information that is partial and differently interpreted, perhaps because of shortage of factual information about the situation. I would like to address Latvia’s society to clear things up and provide some information on the situation. Reports of my detainment were true. However, I would like to stress that it was not in the interpretation reported so far,» explains Broka.

The suspended LU vice-rector says a KNAB officer arrived at the university on Monday and held a conversation with her in relation to some person’s application.
«I fully trust Latvia’s law enforcement institutions, including KNAB. Latvia’s corruption watchdog’s officers are all professional and humane; they didn’t show any signs of bravado or demonstration of strength. The only way I can benefit the case is provide answers to all questions law enforcement officers have to ask. I am interested in resolving this absurd situation. I stand in favour of clean politics, clean sports, state governance and any state or municipal institution’s governance in the interest of society. Corruption has no place in Latvia, Riga, my work or life,» Broka wrote on her Facebook page.

As previously reported, KNAB detained Baiba Broka and businessmen associated with construction company Skonto būve Guntis Rāvis and Ivars Millers as part of the criminal process involving a bribe of EUR 20 000. All three were later released on Wednesday, 10 July.

KAB had previously reported that the bureau has uncovered in formation that some state official, while serving as deputy chairman of a procurement committee, may have acted in the interest of businessmen. Investigators say the state official had accepted a bribe offer from a businessman and later registered the bribe as a donation to some association. The possible size of the bribe reaches EUR 20 000. LETA is informed the bribe in question was registered as a donation to Broka’s managed Latvian Biathlon Federation.

In the past three years Latvian Biathlon Federation received three donations with a total of EUR 20 000, including one donation from SIA Roadeks, which is indirectly owned by Rāvis, according to information from Firmas.lv.

According to information available to LETA, the bribery in this criminal case may be related to University of Latvia House of Letters construction project.
The procurement for the construction of LU House of Letters was announced in spring 2018. The winner was sought in the tended through negotiations. The initial contract price was EUR 33 million.

The tender’s first stage was open, and seven companies had applied. Only some of them had made it to the second stage (the actual number is kept in secret). Initial price offers were too high, prompting the university to review projects with new offers following soon after. On Thursday, 11 July, it is planned to open up clarified offers. The university hopes a winner will be picked in a week’s time, said deputy rector for infrastructure development affairs Edīte Megne.

Megne noted that the university is not completely clear as to which of the procurements the criminal process is associated with – the situation is made unclear by KNAB’s public statements in regards to the people involved in the criminal process.

Megne said Skonto būve had taken part in the first stage of the tender, but she did not say if the company passed the first stage and if it remains among the contenders in the House of Letters construction project.

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