Administrative District Court in Riga has commenced a case following a request from suspended Mayor of Riga Nils Ušakovs in objection of Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce on his suspension from his post as chairman of Riga City Council, as confirmed by the court.
The court explains that the date for the case’s review is unknown at the moment. The exact date will be picked once an explanation has been received from Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry.
On 5 April 2019, Pūce issued an order to dismiss Ušakovs from his post as chairman of Riga City Council. The order details several violations committed by Ušakovs as mayor of Riga and shareholder of public transport company Rīgas satiksme.
Ušakovs has publicly said he considers Pūce’s action as a political act. He is confident all criticisms addressed to him are baseless.
Ušakovs has asked the court to assess Pūce’s criminal liability in this process. The suspended mayor of Riga said at a press-conference that together with lawyers Viktors Tihonovs and Gatis Gailums he has prepared an application not only regarding appeal of the minister’s order. He has also submitted a side-complaint, asking the court to check if Pūce has not abused his official post.
Ušakovs reminds that the minister accused him of failing to increase base capital of public transport company Rīgas satiksme. «We have found audio recordings from meetings Pūce had attended as a deputy of Riga City Council. This means he was well aware that it was only about investments into own capital, not base capital. After becoming minister, Pūce has started pointing towards completely different aspects than his used to when he was a deputy of the city council,» Ušakovs stated in his side complaint.
He also notes that the minister’s order contains ‘crude violations’ and it is clear the decision itself was political. «This is proven by the order itself and the action that followed after its announcement. For example, the minister told the media that had he dissolved the entire city council Harmony would have won elections again and would put me in the mayor’s seat,» said the politician.
According to him, in his request he appealed the minister’s order and the criticisms addressed to the dismissed mayor.
Oļegs Burovs is the acting chairman of Riga City Council and Vadims Baraņņiks is Riga’s Vice-Mayor.