Bunkus family calls on the Minister for the Interior to assess the competence of State Police Chief Ints Ķuzis for his current position
Kristaps Bunkus, brother of Sworn Advocate Mārtiņš Bunkus, who was murdered last year, has called on Sandis Ģirģens, Minister for the Interior of the Republic of Latvia, to order an inquiry into whether Ints Ķuzis, Chief of the State Police, intentionally misled the public regarding the pace of the investigation into the murder of Sworn Advocate Mārtiņš Bunkus. Should it turn out that I. Kuzis indeed mislead the public, K. Bunkus has called for an evaluation of his competence as State Police Chief.
The letter reads that, following repeated public criticism related to the investigation of the murder of M. Bunkus, on 4 December 2018, when participating in the programme “900 seconds”, broadcast by television company LNT, the Chief of the State Police announced that “in fact, we have sufficient evidence of the facts and circumstances of this case to be able to determine how and by whom this crime was committed”, which suggested that the investigation was drawing to a close, with sufficient evidence having been gathered to launch a criminal prosecution.
“However, although nearly 5 (five) months have passed since the promising announcement of I. Ķuzis, no information on the perpetrator(s) or circumstances surrounding the murder of Mārtiņš Bunkus has been revealed. Nor has any other information demonstrating any significant progress of the investigation been published for nearly a year. This suggests that last December,
the Chief of the State Police intentionally misled the Latvian public, possibly with the intention of avoiding responsibility for the lack of progress and artificially improving the public’s perception of himself and the State Police,”
says Kristaps Bunkus, brother of M. Bunkus and Board Member of the Martins Bunkus Justice Foundation.
The letter submitted to the Minister contains a request to examine whether I. Kuzis was in possession of any facts supporting his statements regarding the allegedly impending solution of the murder case last December. In the event no such facts were available, the Minister is requested to assess whether I. Ķuzis is fit for his current position, because such unfounded statements undermine public confidence in the State Police and their work. The State Police Chief’s actions, assuming he intentionally mislead the public, is a discredit to the work of law enforcement authorities, the submission states. Furthermore, the letter to the Minister points out that
public officials are bound to conduct themselves in a socially responsible manner, and not just in consideration of their own personal interests and professional ambitions.
A public official intentionally providing false and misleading information on a socially significant matter with the purpose of avoiding media scrutiny is unacceptable.
“Every time we, as family members of the victim, request information on the progress of the investigation, we are met with a refusal to share such information on the pretext that to do so would jeopardise the investigation. However, where it serves the purpose of improving public perception of the police, a significant volume of information becomes available, the revelation of which is apparently no longer a danger to the investigation. We call on the State Police to immediately provide information on the work completed and the status of the investigation, and to stop withholding information on the grounds that its disclosure would put the investigation at risk. Otherwise,
it appears that the only thing jeopardising the investigation is the police’s inability to do their job and find the perpetrators,” stresses K. Bunkus.
K. Bunkus also draws attention to the fact that the Martins Bunkus Justice Foundation carefully follows the public relations campaigns run by the State Police, and calls for them not to be employed for the purpose of improving the public’s perception of the State Police, thereby creating an illusion as to the efficacy of the State Police’s efforts and those of its senior officers.