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Saeima investigative commission on Zolitude tragedy issues final report

BC, Riga, 28.10.2015.Print version
Parliamentary investigative commission on the Maxima Supermarket roof collapse in Riga's Zolitude neighborhood in November 2013 approved its final report on October 27th, laying political and moral responsibility on several officials, informs LETA.

The report says that the following persons bear political and moral responsibility for the tragedy: then Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity), former Economy Minister Artis Kampars (Unity) and former Economy Minister Daniels Pavluts, former Economy Ministry's state secretaries Anrijs Matiss (Unity) and Juris Puce, Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs (Harmony), and Riga Construction Board's head Inguss Vircavs.


The commission's final report is over 80 pages long, and it concludes that the tragedy may have been caused by weak construction policy adhered to by the state and local governments.


The commission explains that liquidation of the State Construction Inspectorate resulted in much slacker supervision of construction control, and lack of a unified state construction policy. Supervision of construction business on the national level was renewed only after the tragedy in Zolitude occurred, and that is when the State Construction Supervision Office was set up. Up until that time, all the attempts to bring order to construction supervision process in Latvia were always turned down on the pretext of insufficient funds.


Likewise, the Riga City Council's construction supervision system was inefficient and fragmented, while the procedure of certification of construction experts did not contribute to the development of safe construction practices. Furthermore, there were shortcomings in the applicable laws and regulations, which made it hard to determine the specific responsibilities of construction industry players and hampered the duties of supervisory authorities.


The commission offers a number of proposals to improve construction laws and regulations, and the work of the supervisory authorities. These include development of a medium-term construction policy planning strategy by the Economy Ministry in cooperation with non-governmental organizations, amending the Construction Law to ensure more thorough evaluation of construction designs, increasing responsibility of players in the construction industry.


The members of the commission also suggest that several terms and definitions be specified in the Construction Law and Cabinet of Ministers' regulations, and others.

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