Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 125

Prime minister Andris Skele yesterday dismissed the ministers of health and of culture, Juris Vinkelis and Richards Piks, whom financial auditors last week had pronounced to be in violation of anti-corruption legislation. The former stands accused of tax evasion, and the latter of conflict of interest through private business activities. Skele recently ordered the General Prosecutor’s office to investigate all the cabinet ministers without exception, in order to ascertain whether they comply with anti-corruption legislation. The results are still pending on most ministers. (BNS, June 25) Last month, Skele dismissed Defense Minister Andrejs Krastins on charges of having signed a sweetheart deal with a private company for fuel supplies to the military. The Latvian press reacted skeptically to the accusation.

Last week, Skele raised eyebrows with a nationally televised address pillorying political parties in general, and those of the governing coalition in particular. Skele accused the parties of breeding corruption and pursuing selfish and narrow goals at the expense of national interest. Leaders of the main parties described the charges as unsubstantiated and anti-democratic. (BNS, June 19) Skele was a non-party, highly successful private businessman before being drafted as prime minister last year.

Moldova Seeks Israeli Investments.