Heads of Latvian Railway lose Latvian State Railway Administration’s trust

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Latvia’s State Railway Administration (SRA) has sent a letter to Transport Ministry and Latvian Railways (LDz). In it they ask the government to «evaluate behaviour of LDz leading officials – Edvīns Bērziņš and Aivara Strakšas – in writing an application containing false information and thereby organizing a discrediting campaign against State Railway Administration».

According to SRA director Juris Iesalnieks, the administration has turned against LDz for distorting the market. This is why, he says, LDz chairman Edvīns Bērziņš and board member Aivars Strakšas have sent several state and international organizations applications containing misleading information.

This is done, according to Iesalnieks, «discredit the administration’s work and organize a public discrediting and psychological intimidation campaign against the director of the State Railway Administration».

Iesalnieks notes that there was another discrediting campaign organized in the past – in 2017. Back then SRA commenced an administration violation case against LDz for hiding financial data.

Iesalnieks notes that discrediting campaigns against all administrations, including his own, have been restarted «with unprecedented low and cynicism» on 13 May 2019, when Bērziņš with Strakšas sent an application to state and international organizations detailing Iesalnieks’ activities.

The director of SRA says the heads of LDz act in such a way because SRA opposes LDz’s lasting distortion of the railway freight market. SRA has also prevented illegal and wasteful spending of state budget funds that were intended to finance passenger transportation.

The biggest example of cynicism, according to Iesalnieks, is found in the way LDz presented the 27 June 2018 of SRA in relation to the size of infrastructure fees for publicly ordered passenger-carrying as an illegal advantage provided to railway company Baltic Express even though this company is not engaged in passenger transportation services and the fact that Baltic Express has nothing to do with SRA’s decisions, said the administration’s director.

Bērziņš and Strakšas mentioned in their application that «on 27 June 2018 Iesalnieks concluded that it is necessary to amend the fee calculation method. According to him, Baltic Express pays too much». In this regard SRA points to the fact no decision was made in the end on 7 November last year, and LDz is well aware of this. Strakšas was in charge of the meeting on this matter.

Considering that LDz is a participant of the aforementioned administrative affairs and both Strakšas and Bērziņš had participated in activities associated with these processes, «it is clear both of them had intentionally provided false information in the application they had submitted to organizations,» says Iesalnieks.

Because of the aforementioned facts, Iesalnieks has asked Transport Ministry and LDz Council to assess «Bērziņš and Strakšas unacceptable actions and responsibility during the next meeting of LDz Council and shareholders».

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