Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Riga Southern bridge - citadel of inefficiency

State Audit office published report about the construction process of the Southern bridge yesterday. After the media started questioning expenses of the newly built Southern bridge last year the Riga City Councilors behaved as if nothing happened. The State Audit office started their investigation in June 2008, and their conclusion is simple - about LVL27mlj. (EUR38mlj) of taxpayers monies were simply squandered due to the lack of legal enforcement of existing rules, and non-existence of financial oversight over the building process! The incumbent Maire of Riga called this revelation as shocking, while the former Maire who started the building considers the whole process of building the bridge as the most transparent and effective in Latvia, and blames the Prime Minister Dombrovskis about barring him to access the EU structural fund monies for running this project!

It is simply sick and tiring to follow the childish behavior of the outgoing political "elite" in Latvia. The papers are full of smaller or bigger scams and corruption cases, thus I have a feeling as if there is a serious need after some external juror from Brussels or Washington DC! The Augean Stalls of Latvian post Soviet nomenclature must be cleaned in order to bring Latvia out from the present economically malicious situation. You may wonder why I am questioning the inability of Latvian court system and civil society to manage this process?

Because, even while the new government gives encouraging signs of improvement, the old boys networks and the president being quiet about his March 31 deadline does not decrease suspicion in the society about the ability of the "presently elected councilors" to suddenly change their behavior. Just look into today's Diena , where the former Transport supremo without any remorse openly declares, that he would continue policy of nepotism, if being elected as the new Maire of Riga! In the same paper it is announced that Transport Supremo's appointed buddy in the RIX board Rota Mūrniece is accused in felony, and Mr Šlesers driver's son must leave now the board of the Latvian Passenger Railway Co., while another of his protege's must leave the well paid job of the press secretary. In any other liberally democratic country the full fledged investigation would ensue, and such "ministers" would be barred from the public office for life!!

Cartoon: Zemgus

Transport supremo renewed his mandate in the parliament, however, and plans to carry on with misuse of taxpayers monies in the Riga City Council. His understanding about the political process ends with simple understanding - there is nothing else except the zero sum game! Rule of law for him is founded on principles of bending it to the whims of more powerful and affluent folks. Transport Supremo is not a democrat, and lets hope that Riga citizens would keep it in mind, while the Latvian judiciary is still unable to start prosecution of this openly law transgressing person after breeches of law found by the State Audit office. Riga taxpayers have allowed themselves to drag into the financial serfdom for the next twenty years due to the the policy of nepotism and negligence of the former Maire's of Riga, thus do citizens really suffer the collective Stockholm syndrome?

Text in Latvian: Riga City Council wheel barrows "should get quietly over the bridge"

Cartoon: Jukka Rislakki


TRex said...

Aren’t there also some questions around inadequate engineering? It is hard to find information in English regarding South Bridge and I read your posts with interest.

TRex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baltic said...


One place I get my alternative information from is - Its possible to call Dievidu Tilts consortitum, but they are heck of undfriendly folks...

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