Egils Levits National security

The National Security Council (NSC) has considered the issue of centralised procurement of food supply for the need of the National Armed Forces (NAF) at several meetings this year.

After listening to and assessing exhaustive reports from the Ministry of Defence, NAF, Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, Military Intelligence, Security Service, and the Prosecutor's Office, the NSC has come to the conclusion that this contract does not comply with the NAF order, as well as with the criteria for concluding such contracts.

The planning, implementation and control of the procurement point to both individual errors and breaches of laws and regulations and systemic weaknesses.

In the circumstances when there is a war in Europe and Latvia's defence and security must be among our highest priorities, this situation is unacceptable.

The NSC expressed its support for the work done so far by the Minister of Defence Ināra Mūrniece and the Ministry of Defence in investigating this case and taking measures to prevent systemic errors in the procurement and supply of subordinate institutions of the Ministry of Defence and the NAF.

The NSC expects swift and effective work by law enforcement authorities to identify and prosecute the officials who committed the violations of the law.

On behalf of the NSC, I have addressed the State Audit Office to request a comprehensive performance audit of the Ministry of Defence and the NAF procurement and supply system in order to make the necessary improvements and prevent the recurrence of similar cases. A number of other decisions have also been taken to address this problem.

The people of Latvia can count on their soldiers and national guards. Their professionalism and patriotism are at the highest level. The negligence or lack of integrity of individuals must not cast a shadow over the entire armed forces.

At a time when the defence budget is being increased and the combat capabilities of the NAF are being strengthened, every member of society must be assured that the money is being invested correctly and usefully.

The NSC will continue to monitor this issue.