STT hands Klaipėda seaport, Latvijas Tilti bribery case to court

Klaipėda port
DELFI / Kęstutis Cemnolonskis

STT said charges of accepting a large bribe had been brought against Gediminas Zumaras, former infrastructure chief at the Klaipėda port, while Latvijas Tilti’s board chairman, Latvian citizen Genadijs Kamkalovs, was charged with bribing him.

Both suspects were detained following STT searches of the premises of the Klaipėda seaport. Zumaras was sacked from the post after facing suspicions of taking a bribe for decisions financially beneficial to Latvijas Tilti.

STT said the bribe at issue is over 9,500 euros, which is punishable by jail term between 2 and 8 years, under the Criminal Code.

The investigation in Lithuania was conducted in cooperation with the Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau ( KNAB ). Last June, Latvian agents detained another six individuals holding top positions in one of Latvia’s largest concerns and carried out about 20 searches, which revealed documents crucial for the probe and over 100,000 euros in cash.

Last week, Latvian agencies searched home and office of board chairperson of a Latvian company, while Klaipeda STT conducted simultaneous searches at a Klaipeda construction company. According to information available to BNS, Lithuanian agents searched the company Hidrostatyba, while the searches in Latvia were conducted in the home and work of Svetlana Afanasjeva, board chairperson of the country’s construction company BMGS.

In March, Hidrostatyba and BMGS reportedly won a tender for reconstruction of 139-140 embankments used by Vakaru Laivu Gamykla (Western Shipyard, VLG) operated by Estonian concern BLRT Grupp. Being the sole applicants for the tender, they offered to do the work for 14.837 million euros.

Zumaras was appointed as infrastructure director at the Klaipeda state seaport in 2015 after his predecessor Algirdas Kamarauskas stepped down in November.

Two Latvian companies, Latvijas Tilti and BMGS, are active in the Klaipeda seaport. Together with construction company Borta operated by the Kaminera group, Latvijas Tilti won a 11.7-million-euro tender in 2016 to deepen the Malku Bay, while a consortium of BMGS and Hidrostatyba should have reconstructed embankments of Bega company for 14.952 million euros.

In October of 2015, Lithuania’s STT reported corruption suspicions against an unnamed head of a division of the port’s authority.

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