• 2016 August 3 17:27

    Freeport of Riga Authority sees no violations in implementation of the Krievu Sala project

    The Freeport of Riga Authority says it does not agree with critical remarks, provided by the State Audit Office Report, and therefore sees no basis for opening the criminal proceedings in regards of the alleged criminal offense in the framework of the project “The Krievu Sala Infrastructure Development for Relocation of the Port Operation from the City Center” implementation. The Freeport of Riga has appealed the State Audit Office report and the Supreme Court has decided to rule on the merits, which is the first case in Latvia.

    “Several of the State Audit Office report findings are simply absurd, such as the State Audit Office questioned the usefulness of the Krievu Sala project, stating that it will not provide a positive effect from an environmental point of view. And such a conclusion is made by the State Audit Office employees, which definitely are not environmental experts, without regard to the fact that in the framework of the project development all the necessary environmental impact assessments and inspections, as provided by law and in accordance with European Commission requirements, were performed by the competent environmental specialists,” said the CEO of the Freeport of Riga Mr.Leonids Loginovs.

    “During the project implementation at least six independent inspections and audits have been carried out, and no significant irregularities or violations have been found. The State Audit Office report contains the sentences, pulled out of the documents, without considering the content of the document and the essence of the information, contained in the document, therefore they should be assessed as biased and reflecting the implemented activities in the negative way. Therefore, the Freeport of Riga has appealed the report of the State Audit Court and the Administrative Affairs Department of the Supreme Court of Latvia has decided to rule on the merits, which is the unprecedented case in Latvia,” says Mr.Loginovs.

    The necessity to implement the project is based on the Riga City Development Plan 2006-2018, providing the transfer of polluting cargo handling operations from the city center, the historic center of Riga and the surrounding protected zone to a more suitable area, thus ensuring long-term sustainable urban development and better living conditions of Riga city residents. During its development stage the project was comprehensively examined from the technical and economic point of view, taking into account environmental impact assessment aspect and a cost- benefit analysis, and the relevant decisions in favor of the project implementation were adopted by the institutions of the Republic of Latvia and the European Commission. In the framework of the further implementation of the project all the changes and amendments have been agreed with the European Commission, which at no point indicated any irregularities or incompliances.

    “All the works of Krievu Sala project have been implemented within the set deadlines and have been put into operation already at the end of last year, thus providing saving of the allocated funding - both by the Cohesion Fund and national co-financing - in the amount of 10.6 million Euros, which is an example of responsible and economical approach to the project implementation. This fact is a clear, indisputable and verifiable one, and there are not many organizations in Latvia, that have been able to implement such large-scale projects with significant saving,” says the project manager Ms.Sanita Kaire.

    With regard to the outsourcing activities during the project implementation, the Freeport of Riga Authority indicates, that the State Audit Office report addressed the Freeport of Riga Authority staff capacity shortage in the project implementation, proposing to increase the capacity of the project team. Being aware of the fact that the current staff capacity will not allow to implement the large-scale project, the Freeport of Riga Authority in its application for the Cohesion Fund co-financing of the project had already provided the relevant project organization structure. In the framework of the said structure it was planned to attract external service providers for certain - recurring or advanced - research functions, in-depth expertise and specific activities not covered by the existing authority staff resources, thus providing the missing project management and implementation capacity. Only 3 employees are working at the Freeport on the Krievu Sala project, which with its financial volume of 160 million EUR is one of the largest projects the country has ever implemented with the Cohesion Fund co-financing. Consequently, there are grounds to state, that the report findings, implying that the contracts concluded with external service providers include the tasks set out in the Freeport of Riga Authority employees’ job descriptions, are incorrect and do not reflect the actual situation.

    With regard to open storage facilities relocation, implemented in the framework of the project, the Freeport of Riga would like to provide the following comment - due to the project implementation scale it was necessary to free a certain part of the port area, and with the aim to ensure the uninterrupted continuation of the activities of the merchant, that was successfully operating on the said territory, it was decided to relocate the specific open type warehouse to other similar area.




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