RIGA, Dec 7 (LETA) - Three persons have been declared suspects in an ongoing probe into a major fire that broke out at an illegal waste dump in Jurmala this past summer, State Police spokeswoman Gita Gzibovska told LETA.The Economic Crime Prevention Department of the State Police is investigating the case based on three paragraphs of the Criminal Law: pollution of soil, forests and waters, pollution of air and violations of waste management regulations.Three persons are being investigated as official suspects for violations of waste management regulations that have led to significant damage to the environment, human health and property. The offense carries a jail term of up to four years, community work or a fine, the police spokeswoman said.None of the suspects in the case has been remanded in custody. Police would not disclose their names at this stage of the investigation.The Economic Crime Prevention Department of the State Police has also declared the State Environmental Service as the injured party in the case.The criminal investigation into the dumpsite fire is ongoing, which is why police representatives are not giving more detailed information.Zane Leite, a representative of the Jurmala City Council, told LETA that the local authority has no information about the probe and possible suspects. Lucija Uzklinge, a board member of Prima M, the company that operated the illegal dumpsite, confirmed to LETA that she is one of the three suspects in the case. Uzklinge refused to discuss the other two suspects, saying only that these are employees of another enterprise that was involved in Prima M’s operations at that time. Uzklinge said she and two other persons are being suspected of unlicensed business activity, not causing the fire. Uzklinge believes that police are trying to find scapegoats instead of catching those who caused the blaze at the dumpsite. She also claimed it was recyclable materials and not waste that where destroyed in the fire in Sloka neighborhood in the summer. Uzklinge said she considers asking the Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) to look into the performance of Clean R, the company that cleaned up the site after the fire. In Uzklinge’s words, the fire destroyed 8,000 tons of recyclable materials and not 23,000 tons of waste, as the State Environmental Service claimed. After finishing the cleanup works, Clean R reported it had removed 12,500 tons of waste from the site. According to information available at Firmas.lv, Prime M turned over EUR 15,331 and sustained a EUR 2,375 loss in 2015. Prima M, registered in 2011, belongs to SO Trust, whose sole owner is Olegs Sokolovs. There is also another criminal investigation going on in connection with the fire at the illegal waste dump in Jurmala. In this probe, the Riga criminal police investigate damage caused to property through arson, but nobody features as suspect in this case at the moment.Ints Kuzis, the head of the State Police, said in early July that the police suspected arson at the dumpsite, but Gzibovska said that so far, the police had not found any convincing evidence confirming or removing suspicions of arson and the investigation was continuing.As reported, a highly dangerous fire started in the Sloka area in Jurmala on the afternoon of June 18 as plastic waste caught fire. Flames spread over the area of 1.2 hectares and consumed also a hangar. The fire that released dark clouds of potentially hazardous smoke was put out the following morning.Prima M, the company that operated the dump, said after the fire they suspected that the fire had been started by arsonists.The cleanup operation cost the Latvian state EUR 550,000, which the government hopes to later recover from Prima M, which refused to pay for the cleanup and insists that the heaps of plastic materials were recyclable materials, not waste, therefore they had not needed permission for waste storage.
Published: 07.12.2017 13:51