2019.11.27 11:00

300,000-euro upgrade of Lithuanian PM's street raises questions

BNS 2019.11.27 11:00

Questions about a proper use of public resources were raised after additional funds allocated for road upgrades went exclusively to the street where the Lithuanian prime minister lives, the news website reports.

Vilnius District Municipal Council included Skvernelis' street into its list of streets due for upgrades in late October and the government allocated 300,000 euros for the works five days later.

Almost all of the money went toward upgrading Upės Street in the village of Smigliai, where Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis lives.

Tomas Beržinskas, an adviser to Skvernelis, noted in his reply to 15min that Upės Street was not mentioned in the government's resolution.

“Under the resolution of October 30, the government did not allocate funds for asphalting or repairing any particular street or road,” he said.

The website says, however, that specific streets are mentioned in the resolution.

Vilnius District Municipality admits that it decided to upgrade the street, among other reasons, because the VIP Protection Department, which protects the prime minister, requested it.

Once he took over as transport minister, Jaroslav Narkevič asked the Cabinet to redistribute 3.3 million euros from the road maintenance and development programme reserve. Allocations for the districts of Trakai and Vilnius were increased, saying that the money was to be used for ensuring safe traffic on local roads in the municipalities with large ethnic minority populations.

Jolanta Gulbinovič, a spokeswoman for Vilnius District Municipality, has confirmed to 15min that the upgrading of Upės street in Smigliai will cost 299,973 euros and that the project is financed by the additionally allocated funds.

According to her, the municipality has received repeated complaints about the state of the pavement in the street and requests to repair it both from people living there and from the VIP Protection Department.