How the “Kickbacks” from the Public Procurements Fatten the Budgets of the Political Parties in Election Campaigns
The campaign of the political parties for the local election held in last June was copiously financed, likewise the one for the legislative election of last November, by employees of companies which had concluded fat contracts with the State over the past years. The analysis of the financial reports submitted by the political parties to the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) during the campaign for the election of the 14th of June 2015 has revealed that founders, managers and ordinary employees of companies which had signed procurement contracts with different State institutions are among the generous sponsors of the parties. Some of these companies have won fat contracts even during the election campaign.
During the campaign for the general election held in June of this year, the Democratic Party has spent the largest amount of money – 23,8 million lei, followed by the Party of Socialists – 18,5 million lei and “Our Party” – 13,7 million lei. The other political parties have more modest budgets: the Party of Communists – 8,2 million lei, the Liberal-Democratic Party – 6. 8 million lei, the Liberal Party – 4,6 million lei, the European People’s Party of Moldova – 2,3 million lei and “Ravnopravie” – 2,6 million lei.
These are the amounts which were officially declared to the CEC by the political parties involved in the campaign. However, the financial reports of the parties do not show the expenditures for the grandiose concerts, the informal advertisement on TV channels, for "buying" votes and other.
The budgets of the parties were made up exclusively from donations, which, as in the campaign for the legislative election of November 2014, have flooded some parties. The heaviest donations came from the representatives of business entities who had fat contracts with the State in the recent years. The reporters of the Centre for Journalistic Investigations have documented the companies whose representatives made donations in the campaign of June 2015 to the parties involved in the election race. Here is what we have discovered.
The link between donors, parties and the awarded tenders might not seem direct at first glance, but, on the other hand, the employees of several companies which had won contracts with the State in the field of transport have made generous donations exactly to the party whose member is the Minister of Transport and of Road Infrastructure, while the employees of companies which had won tenders in the field of construction have made contributions to the electoral fund of the party whose member is the Minister of the Regional Development and Construction. The picture appears even more contoured at the local level – the employees of the companies which were the winning bidders in tenders made donations to parties represented by the local government leaders.
Donors to the Democratic Party
The most beautiful picture is the one of the Democratic Party, which has received donations of tens and hundreds of thousands lei from employees of over 50 companies that benefited from contracts estimated to millions of lei from the public money.
RED Nord JSC
RED Nord JSC
The largest amount of money – 1,072,700 lei, was paid out to the budget of the Democratic Party by 50 employees of RED Nord JSC and RED Nord Vest JSC. These two State-owned joint stock companies are the main electricity distributors in the northern part of the country. The energy sector is managed by the Ministry of Economy, led by Stephane Bride – a minister proposed by the Democratic Party. According to the Public Procurement Agency, in 2013, RED Nord JSC was awarded tenders of a total value of 1,094,028 lei. Local governments of Parcova, Edinet, Briceni and Balti municipality are among the institutions with which contracts were concluded.
The staff of Moldtelecom JSC donated together more than 700,000 lei. This institution is subordinated to the Ministry of Information Technology and Communication. This minister is led by Pavel Filip, a representative of the Democratic Party. During the period 2011-2015, Moldtelecom has signed contracts worth 35.8 million lei with different State institutions. The largest contract of 10 million 160 thousand lei was signed with the Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family, led by a Democrat, for the provision of Internet services. Contracts estimated to nearly 600 thousand lei were concluded with the National Employment Agency, which is subordinated to the Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family; 4 million came from the Ministry of Finance; 2,3 million - from the Register of Animals; 2,7 million - from the Security and Intelligence Service. The Centre for Investigations has already written that friends and business partners of Vitalie Iurcu, manager of Moldtelecom, were awarded, through a group of companies, tenders worth millions of lei, organized by this State-owned joint stock company, but the administration of Moldtelecom drew a veil on this issue.
Moldtelecom Director, Vitalie Iurcu, was recently appointed as the Deputy Minister of Economy, a ministry controlled by the Democratic Party.
Natalia Sanduţa, manager of UNIC department store, is a member of the Democratic Party and was among this party’s candidates for Chișinău municipal council in the campaign for 2015 local election. Nine employees of the company led by Sanduța donated together 120 thousand lei. UNIC JSC has won tenders worth 234,000 lei for the delivery of various materials and office supplies. 60 thousand lei came the company’s account from the General Prosecutor’s Office for the purchase of carpets.
The Democratic Party also benefited from the important donations – 100,000 lei – of three employees of Drumuri-Edineț JSC, including the company's director, Leonid Corcimari. In 2013, the State Administration of Roads launched a tender for the purchase of current repair works for the public roads in the districts of Briceni, Dondușeni, Drochia, Edineț, Fălești, Florești, Glodeni, Ocnița, Rîșcani, Sîngerei, Șoldănești. Drumuri-Edineț JSC was the winning bidder and, after concluding the contract, the accounts of the Company fattened by 1,7 million lei.
Constructorul Telenesti JSC
In the local election, Mihail Tetelea, an employee of Constructorul Telenești JSC, also made an important donation of 80 thousand lei to the Democratic Party. In 2012, Constructorul Telenești JSC signed a contract of over 305 thousand lei with the District Council of Telenești for the provision of sidewalk repair works in the village of Mândrești. After the election of this year, a Democrat is at the helm of this village, and the Democratic Party has 10 seats in the District Council of Telenești.
An amount of 70 thousand lei was put into the money box of the Democratic Party by the employees of Molddata Company, another institution subordinated to the Ministry of Information Technology and Communication which is led by a representative of the Democratic Party. Molddata JSC concluded between 2011 and 2015 procurement contracts worth 1,622,216 lei with several State institutions. The largest amount of public money came to the budget of Molddata from the contracts signed with the General Prosecutor’s Office - about 600 thousand lei for information system administration.
The member of the Democratic Party, Serghei Rapcea, currently district councillor in Anenii-Noi, donated 90 thousand lei to the Democrats. In November 2014, Serghei Rapcea was among the candidates of the Democratic Party for the legislative election. In the financial reports submitted by the Democratic Party to the CEC, Serghei Rapcea stands as an employee of Gara-Auto LLC, although such a company is not registered in the data base of the State Registration Chamber (SRC). On the other hand, in November 2014, Rapcea declared he was temporarily unemployed, while, according to the data of the SRC, he was the general director of Transpremium LLC. He is also the founder of Cristehtrans LLC and the director and founder of Cristranscom LLC. Cristehtrans LLC is specialized in transport services, and also performs building renovation works. During the period 2013-2014, Cristehtrans LLC signed with the State contracts totalling 1,7 million lei. Most of the awarded tenders were organised by public institutions from Anenii Noi. In 2014, Transpremium LLC, specialized in transport services, won two contracts worth 116,227 lei, again in Anenii Noi. The third company owned by Serghei Rapcea, Cristranscom LLC, specialized in road repair, has also been awarded a number of tenders during the period 2014-2015, estimated at over 18 million lei. During the election campaign of this year, Cristranscom LLC has won a fat contract worth 1 million lei from Anenii Noi District Council. The other contracts signed in 2014 had as an object road repair works in different localities of the districts of Strășeni, Ștefan Vodă, Anenii Noi and Edineț. In all these districts, the presidents of district councils are representatives of the Democratic Party.
Valeriu Veleșcu, an employee of Oztor LLC, donated 70 thousand lei to the Democratic Party. The company which employed Veleșcu provides a wide spectrum of services – construction of buildings, construction of stadiums, renovation works, community arrangement works and even water supply services. During the period 2011-2014, the company concluded with different State institutions contracts totalling nearly 9 million lei. Among the institutions which contracted the services of Oztor LLC, to note the Implementation Unit of the Social Housing Project, an institution subordinated to the Ministry of Regional Development and Construction (led by a Democrat) – a contract of nearly 2,3 million lei, the Civil Protection and Emergency Situations Service of the Ministry of Interior – over 1,5 million lei, Călărași District Council– 609 thousand lei, local government of Onișcani (district of Călărași) – 176 thousand lei, local government of Bogzești (district of Telenești) – nearly 285 thousand lei and local government of Tuzara (district of Călărași) – 193 thousand lei. In the last three communities, representatives of the Democratic Party are at the helm of the village after the election.
Vasile Pușcaș, an employee of Vaspus LLC, a company specialized in the construction of aqueducts, contributed with 60 thousand lei to the election fund of the Democratic Party. In 2011-2015, this company was awarded tenders worth 4,6 million lei. Most contracts were concluded in localities of the district of Călărași. The District Council of Călărași concluded with Vaspus LLC contracts of 1,7 million lei. In the local election, the Democratic Party won nine seats in Călărași District Council. During the period when the contracts were concluded, the Democrat Ilie Rău was the president of Călărași district. 356 thousand lei came to the accounts of Vaspus LLC from the local government of Călărași for the construction of the sewerage network. The mayor of this town is also a member of the Democratic Party.
Alexandru Rotari, the founder and manager of Ranao-Transcom LLC was generous to the Democratic Party, donating 60 thousand lei. The company which pays him a salary has won two public tenders launched by the local government of Rezina, totalling about 424 thousand lei. One of the two contracts has been won during the election campaign, for soil works on the land adjacent to 27th August Street, in Rezina. A Democrat held the office of mayor of Rezina at that time, and after the election a colleague from his party acceded to this position. An investigation conducted by the Centre for Journalistic Investigations points out that both procurement contracts concluded with the local government of Rezina were only partly honoured by Ranao-Transcom LLC.
Another sponsor of the Democratic Party is Igor Lucașciuc, who donated 50,000 in the local election. Although he declared himself an employee of Ocniţa Railway Node, he has been working as a lawyer for Vista-Const LLC since March 2010. Just in 2014, this company won several public tenders totalling more than 300,000 lei. A month before the election held last autumn, the company won the public tender worth over 81,500 lei for the renovation of the retirement home of the village of Calarașovca, launched by the Directorate for Social Assistance and Family Protection of Ocnița. Also in 2014, "Vista-Const" provided construction materials worth 122 800 lei at the request of the Directorate for Education, Youth and Sport of Briceni. An amount of 200,000 lei of public money came to the account of "Vista-Const" in 2013.
Anatolie Iașciuc, the director of Stilconstruct LLC, is another donor who was generous to the Democratic Party, donating 50,000 lei. Although this company is specialized in construction, it is among the winning bids in tenders for the supply of food products. During the period 2012-2014, Stilconstruct won five tenders totalling about 3,7 million lei. 695 thousand lei for food delivery came to the company's account from the local government of Stăuceni, where the Democratic Party won the election.
The Directorate for Education, Youth and Sport of Râşcani has fattened the company’s accounts with about 3,3 million lei.
Conplast Design LLC
Valeriu Papcov from Conplast Design LLC donated 50,000 lei to the Democrats. Since 1998, this company manufactures and sells windows, doors, stained-glass windows and shutters, various accessories. The company has won several tenders totalling 219 549 lei. The contracts were concluded with “Toma Ciorba” Clinical Hospital for Infectious Diseases and with the Culture and Tourism Department of Soroca District Council.
Podiș LLC, a supplier of construction materials, donated 50,000 lei to the budget of the Democratic Party through Trifan Druța. In 2011-2012, the company won tenders worth 638 thousand lei, most of them being contracted by the local government of Teleneşti. At that time, Trifan Druța was a councillor in the local council of Ineşti, representing the Democratic Party. In 2015, a Democrat became the mayor of this community. The Democrats also won 10 seats in the District Council of Teleneşti.
Donors to the Liberal-Democratic Party of Moldova
While in the election campaign of November 2014, the Liberal-Democratic Party had benefited from a scheme of rich donations, in the campaign for the local election of 2015 the donation scheme has considerably faded. The analysis of the financial reports shows that a part of the former donors have migrated to another political party made up of former Liberal-Democrats.
Plai Mereni LLC
Alexandru Barbaroşie from Plai Mereni LLC put 99 000 lei to the money box of the Liberal-Democratic Party. The company is specialized in bakery and it is managed by George Barbaroşie, father of Alexandru Barbăroșie. During the period 2011-2015, it concluded with various State institutions procurement contracts totalling nearly 2,5 million lei. Throughout the period when Andrei Usatîi, representative of the Liberal-Democratic Party, was the interim Minister of Health, contracts totalling 1,2 million lei were concluded with a number of institutions subordinated to the Ministry of Health. The fattest contracts were signed with the Municipal Hospital of Phthisiopneumology - 734 137 lei.
The company also had some deals with institutions subordinated to the Ministry of Education, which, by virtue of the political division, was led by a person appointed by the Liberal-Democratic Party. Over half million lei from the State budget came to the accounts of Plai Mereni for food delivery to a number of educational institutions. The fattest contracts were concluded with Vocational School No. 5 of Chișinău - 362 312 lei and with the National Sport Boarding School – 283,682 lei.
Another advantageous contract was signed with the local government of Codru, Chișinău municipality – 292,085 lei. In the local election, the battle for the mayorship of Codru was won by Vladimir Munteanu, a member of the Liberal-Democratic Party. By the way, after the local election, Alexandru Barbaroșie, the donor who made a donation of 99 thousand lei to the election fund of the Liberal-Democratic Party, became the President of Anenii Noi district.
A similar amount of money - 99 thousand lei – was donated in the election campaign by Sergiu Budescu, an employee of Bias-Trans LLC. Throughout the period 2011-2014, this company received money for its transport services from different institutions of Anenii Noi. A procurement contract worth 308 thousand lei was concluded with the local government of Anenii Noi. After the election, the Liberal-Democratic Party has nine seats in the District Council of Anenii Noi and the office of president of the district.
Donors to the European People’s Party of Moldova
The European People’s Party was founded several months before the local election, consisting mostly of former members of the Liberal-Democratic Party. The analysis of the financial reports shows that not only members of this political party migrated to the new political organisation, but also some generous donors who had public procurement contracts with institutions whose heads had been promoted by the Liberal-Democratic Party.
The manager of the company NiRom-Roz LLC, Nicolae Rozembac, donated 55,525 lei to the European People’s Party. This company is specialized in road construction and repair, and also provides roadwork services. Throughout four years, from 2011 to 2015, huge sums from the public budget fattened the company's accounts – 103,3 million lei. The fattest contracts were signed in 2011-2012 with the State Administration of Roads – 63,3 million lei. In addition to it, procurement contracts worth over 33,7 million lei were concluded either directly with the District Council of Călărași, or with different communities of this district. Just in the midst of the election campaign of 2015, the company concluded on the same day two procurement contracts for the renovation of two roads with Călărași District Council. Two other tenders worth 1,19 million lei were won by the company in 2014, and contracts were subsequently signed with the local government of Vălcineț (district of Călărași), a village where a representative of the European People’s Party won the local election. Moreover, four representatives of this party acceded to the District Council of Călărași after the election.
Maxprof Grup LLC
Another generous donor was Tudor Popescu, an employee of Max Prof Grup LLC, who donated 60 thousand lei to the European People’s Party in the election campaign. In 2012, the Ministry of Interior purchased from „Maxprof Grup” LLC an automated integrated access system worth 764,9 thousand lei, while the website of the Ministry indicates the amount of 779 thousand lei. After this transaction, the Public Procurement Agency, the Ministry of Interior and „MaxProf Grup” LLC were sued by "Media security" LLC, a company which performs the same kind of activities and which challenged an administrative act to the court. According to the website of the Public Procurement Agency, its action was rejected.
Bass System LLC
A company whose employee Andrei Cojocari contributed with a sum of 50 thousand lei to the budget of the European People’s Party also benefited from contracts with the State. During the period 2011-2013, Bass System LLC concluded three procurement contracts totalling 28,8 million lei with State institutions. Public money coming from the Customs Service, the National Commission for Financial Markets and the Court of Accounts came to the company’s accounts for various IT equipment and services.
Donors to the Liberal Party
Most of the generous donors who support the Liberals come from the structures and services of Chișinău municipality, whose mayor is a representative of the Liberal Party.
”Piața Centrală” Municipal Enterprise
12 persons working as entrepreneurs at “Piața Centrală” Municipal Enterprise made generous donations to the Liberal Party - 288 thousand lei. The director of “Piața Centrală”, Ion Stratulat, is a member of the Liberal Party and was one this party’s candidates for the Municipal Council of Chișinău in the local election of 2011. Over the past four years, “Piața Centrală” Municipal Enterprise won tenders worth almost 44 million lei for the sale of food products to public institutions of Chișinău.
Contracts of over 2.7 million lei of public money have been concluded between “Piața Centrală” Municipal Enterprise and „M. Viteazul” Theoretical Lycee of Chișinău, a close to the Liberal Party institution. In addition to it, contracts worth almost 37 million lei were concluded with the General Directorate for Education, Youth and Sports of Chișinău. Alexandru Fleaș, deputy director of this authority, is a Liberal councillor to the municipal council.
Another gesture of extreme generosity was made by Rodica Topală, the wife of the Liberal councillor Iurie Topală. She is the founder and the manager of Ruta-Prim LLC and made a donation of 300 000 lei to the election campaign of her husband’s party. According to the website of the Public Procurement Agency, Ruta-Prim Service, a company which holds 40% of the shares of Ruta-Prim LLC, supplied in 2013 snow removal equipment worth 5 million lei to the General Directorate for Public Transport and Ways of Communications of Chișinău municipality. Three years before, Ruta Prim Service had concluded a contract worth 37,8 million lei for the purchase of winter road maintenance equipment with the "State Administration of Roads" Enterprise. From 2009 to 2013, the Ministry of Transport and Road Infrastructure, an institution to which the State Administration of Roads is subordinated, was led by Anatol Șalaru, vice-president of the Liberal Party.
In 2011, the company "Transcon-M" JSC, managed by the liberal councillor Iurie Nastas, who donated to his party 400 thousand lei, concluded three procurement contracts for road repair and construction with different State institutions. The contracts totalled about 3,87 million lei and the fattest one, worth 2,68 million lei, was concluded with the State Administration of Roads. In 2011, this institution was under the Ministry led by a member of the Liberal Party.
Donors to the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova
Dina Cociug LLC
Four employees of the company Dina Cociug LLC, specialized in the delivery and maintenance of the technological equipment, made a generous gesture in the local election campaign, donating together the sum of 195,100 lei. Over the past years, the above-mentioned company had won procurement contracts worth millions of lei with State institutions. Just in 2015, the company concluded three contracts worth 226 141 lei with the local governments of Bălți and of Ocniţa. In the same year, a representative of the Party of Socialists, Ion Ciumac, acceded at the helm of Ocniţa town hall. During the period 2013-2014, Dina Cociug LLC signed contracts worth 4,4 million lei with different State institutions. The largest amount of money came from: "Mihai Eminescu" Theoretical Lycee of Fălești – 518,940 lei, the Directorate for Education, Youth and Sports of Rezina - 279 432 lei, local government of Cahul – 238,265 lei, "Gheorghe Raducan" Agro-Industrial College of Grincăuţi - 304 125 lei, Agricultural College of Țaul - 479 760 lei. On the other hand, Victor Chirlici, an employee of Dina Cociug company, was among the candidates of the Socialist Party for Chișinău Municipal Council. In Fălești and Rezina, the Socialist candidates for the office of mayor came out to the second round of the election, but both of them lost the race.
Bujor Sport LLC
Another company which made substantial donations to the Party of Socialists, Bujor Sport LLC, concluded between 2012 and 2013 procurement contracts for sports equipment and clothing, worth 399,495 lei, with the National Olympic Committee and the Sport Centre for National Teams Training. In the local election campaign, an employee of this company, Olesea Popova, donated 65,300 lei to the Party of Socialists.
In the midst of the election campaign, Autotehnica LLC signed with the local government of Vărvăreuca, district of Florești, a contract of 106 thousand lei for the supply of gravel. 10 employees of this company donated together 122 000 lei during the campaign.
Donors to “Partidul Nostru” (“Our Party”) People’s Party
In the local election campaign, Iurie Ceban, manager of MOBILEMN-Grup LLC, put the sum of 50,000 lei into the money box of "Our Party". During the period 2013-2014, hundreds of thousands of lei - public money – fattened the accounts of this company specialized in furniture manufacturing, coming particularly from Gagauzia Territorial-Administrative Unit (TAU). This company concluded four procurement contracts with State institutions: in 2013 – a contract worth 74 880 lei with the General Directorate for Youth and Sport of Gagauzia TAU and in 2014 - a contract of 73 400 lei with the Emergency Situations Directorate of Gagauzia TAU; a contract of nearly 50 thousand lei with the local government of Făleşti and a contract of about 80 thousand lei with the local government of Ialpujeni, district of Cimișlia. As a result of the election, “Our Party” won the race for mayor in Comrat - the capital of Gagauzia UTA, as well as in other four villages of the region. A representative of the party of Usatîi won the office of mayor of Fălești.
"Goliat-Vita" LLC is another company specialized in furniture manufacturing that made substantial donations to “Our Party” People’s Party.Its founders – Serghei and Ludmila Anastasov, alongside with two other employees, donated a total sum of 220 thousand lei. Although the production of furniture is the main activity of this company, it also declared other areas of activity. In 2014-2015, the company of the Anastasovs won 12 tenders organized by different institutions of Gagauzia UTA. The amount of the contracts totals nearly 800 thousand lei. The largest contract worth 199,9 thousand lei was signed with the local government of Sireţi, district of Strășeni. Sergei Anastasov is also the President of the Association of Entrepreneurs of Gagauzia and was the candidate of “Our Party” for the office of mayor of Comrat who won the runoff election.
Donors to the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova
The “piggy bank” of the Party of Communists received huge sums allotted by employees of the companies which are members of Daac Hermes Group or its affiliates. DAAC Hermes Group is the official dealer of several brands of automobiles. Its activities cover several areas, but car selling and car service are its priorities. Corneliu Cornețchi, manager of Antares LLC, donated 1,25 million lei to the Party of Communists. His company is a subsidiary of DAAC Hermes Group Holding, owned by Vasili Chirtoca, candidate of the Party of Communists for mayorship of the capital.
After the examination of the financial reports of the Party of Communists, it transpires that its donations come from businesses entities and that they are legalized by the means of indicating the names of natural persons. Iurie Moroşan, for instance, donated 500 thousand lei to the Party of Communists, but he declared himself the manager of Pielart JSC when he donated the sum of 300 thousand lei, and when he donated 200 000 lei, he declared himself the manager of Daac Prom JSC, both companies being daughter companies of DAAC Hermes Group (!). Iurie Moroşan is also the vice-president of the Administration Board of "DAAC-Hermes Group" JSC.
Gheorghe Dodi, another DAAC Hermes Group Board member, disbursed 300 thousand lei to the treasury of the Communists, but he did it as the manager of Stelarinvest LLC. Vladislav Chircu, Communist candidate for the Municipal Council, donated 100 thousand lei to the Party that he represented. Vladislav Chircu is the manager of Gura Bâcului fishery, belonging to Daac Hermes Group. The same Vladislav Chircu also appears as the vice-president of DAAC-Eco-Plant.
Auto Mall LLC is another affiliate of Daac Hermes LLC. Five employees of this company put up 60 thousand lei to the budget of the Party of Communists. On the other hand, the employees of Daac Auto LLC, another company of Daac Hermes Group, also showed loyalty to this party, donating to it 40 thousand lei. Three other Daac Hermes employees donated 71 000 lei, among them - Vladimir Hînculov, who is also the manager of Logistic Standard LLC, a company that donated the amount of 1,7 million lei as a legal entity.
All companies of Daac Hermes Group have procurement contracts worth tens of millions with State institutions.
Throughout the year 2015, Daac Hermes concluded procurement contracts totalling 1.8 million lei with different State institutions. The largest amount came from the National Patrol Inspectorate under the Ministry of Interior’s General Police Inspectorate – 1,2 million lei. During the period 2011-2014, Daac Hermes concluded procurement contracts amounting to 9,85 million lei with different State institutions: Chișinău Customs Office – 489,066 lei, the Automobile Subdivision of State Chancellery – 1,03 million, the Ministry of Interior – 674,523 lei, the Moldovan Parliament’s Secretariat – 659,600 lei, the National Patrol Inspectorate under the Ministry of Interior’s General Police Inspectorate – 1,96 million lei, the Penitentiary Department - 891 932 lei, the State Protection and Guard Service - 374 700 lei, the Automobile Subdivision of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova - 693 490 lei.
Auto Mall LLC
Throughout the period 2013-2014, 1,2 million lei came to the accounts of Auto Mall LLC from different State institutions: the Intelligence and Security Service – 450,000 lei, the Ministry of Interior – 306,600 lei.
Throughout the year 2015, Auto Daac concluded procurement contracts totalling 1,4 million lei with different State institutions. Just in the midst of the election campaign, Daac auto sold a vehicle worth 250 thousand lei to the District Hospital of Cimişlia. During the period 2011-2014, Daac Auto concluded procurement contracts amounting to 55,5 million lei with a number of State institutions: Penitentiary Department – 2,3 million lei, the National Agency for Food Safety – 818,360 lei, the Ministry of Interior – 1,4 million lei, the Customs Service – 3,4 million lei, the Secretariat of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova – 1,8 million lei, the Financial Inspection – 1,6 million lei, the Office of the President of the Republic of Moldova – 1,7 million lei, the Automobile Subdivision of State Chancellery – 3,7 million lei, the National Integrity Committee – 1,02 million lei, the Court of Accounts – 2,5 million lei, the State Tax Inspectorate – 865,294 lei, the Administration of Giurgiulesti Harbour - 894 452 lei, the Automobile Subdivision of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova – 1,4 million lei, the State Protection and Guard Service – 2,9 million lei, the Broadcasting Coordinating Council – 1,04 million lei.
What the experts say
In 2013, the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), whose member the Republic of Moldova is, recommended in the third round of evaluation to Chișinău authorities to improve the legislation on funding of election campaigns and to remove the vulnerability in terms of political relationship between the business entities and the political parties.
A number of experts we talked with said that, as long as the legislation is not enhanced, the parties will use obscure schemes for financing of election campaigns. One of such schemes is related to public procurements. Some contracts are conditioned by payoff, one speaks about 10% of the total amount of the contract, the so-called "kickback" paid to the party whose member is the head of the institution which organizes the tender. The business entities which finance the political parties use to do it through natural persons, employees or even outsiders, whose income is not subject to check up from the perspective of the conformity with the donations they make to the parties. This is the easiest way, experts say: no check up, no striking links with the party when the company wins a tender or enjoys other benefits.
While invited to comment on the situation related to donations made to parties and on the benefits which some business entities might enjoy before or after the elections, the anticorruption expert, Mariana Kalughin said that "political parties in Moldova are dependent on the funds coming from the interest groups, companies".
"The picture is predictable. The donations - made either directly or through some other people - reconfirm that their beneficiaries are supported in the election campaign by the interest groups, so that later, when they accede to governance, they would provide some benefits to their supporters: by virtue of the existing links and affiliation, they might favour them in the public tenders, but in fact the circle of such mutual rewards is much broader", the expert said.
According to many experts, this happens because of the fact that the law on financing of political parties was not updated. No provisions were included to request that the donations of business entities shall be accepted based on a decision of the representative body - the board, the general assembly or the founders assembly. As far as the natural persons wishing to make donations are concerned, a check up shall be done to assess if the amount of the donation complies with the individual’s income and if taxes were paid to the State. Law enforcement bodies have not launched any investigation concerning the suspicious cases, invoking the fact that citizens submit an income declaration by 31st of March and no verification can be done before. But thereafter nobody remembers about such investigations.
The Romanian anti-corruption expert, Laura Stefan, considers that "there is need for a very strict control on the donations made to political parties."
"We could see the same thing in Romania, as well as in other countries with similar schemes, under which the employees of companies make donations to political parties or independent candidates. In fact, such donations are a matter of evidence, after all, and of investigation. I know that, in some countries, the national control authorities check if people who make donations to the political parties have enough financial resources enabling them to make such donations. This is the key, in fact. If you see that someone living at the limit of subsistence makes fat donations to political parties, no doubts it’s a sign for the control authorities to raise some questions", the expert declared.
"I know that, in the Republic of Moldova, the Central Electoral Commission should verify all these issues and apply sanctions, including the redirection of the donations that do not comply with the legal provisions towards the State budget, penalize for infringements, if they exist, of course" , Laura Stefan added.
Over the past years, the Centre for Journalistic Investigations conducted a number of investigations which revealed the links between certain public procurements and dubious donations made to the parties, or certain extremely huge donations made by unemployed, retired people, nevertheless, the law enforcement bodies have not started any investigations on the respective cases.
The investigation has been done in the framework of the Campaign „Public Money Is My Money Too”, conducted by the Centre for Journalistic Investigations (CJI) and the Association for Efficient and Responsible Governance (AGER), within a project funded by the European Union and the National Endowment for Democracy.
Investigations in the same category:
Parliament sanitized from public money, kindergartens in the capital left in the parents’ care
For many years, the kindergartens in the capital have not been provided with sufficient liquid soap or toilet paper. The local public authorities argue that there is not enough money for these products. The municipal authorities plan funds only for detergents, lime, chlorine, and the hygiene of children in the pre-school institutions is left in the parents’ care. Instead, for the elected people, the state allocates abundant resources for quality hygienic products. If last year, for example, only MDL 26 were allocated from the public budget for the purchase of household hygienic products per child, then as much as
„Democratic” fund for energy efficiency
The Energy Efficiency Fund (FEE) was founded in summer,2012 to ensure efficient energy expenses by fundingsome localprojects of energy consumption reduction and use renewable energy. In the past three years, FEE approved funding worth nearly half of billion lei for thermal insulation, replacing windows and doors and installing public lighting in different settlements of the country. Most of this money was handed to settlements managed by democratic mayors. FEE is under the Ministry of Economy’s subordination that is managed by representatives of the same party. Fund’s politicization is not the only problem, say officials. A part of companies authorized
Illegal transactions with real estate and public lands in Rezina damage the local budget
Authorities in town Rezina have authorized illegal transactions with land or public non- residential areas and several buildings over the past years. These "businesses" harmed the local budget. Police and prosecutors have been informed repeatedly but they did not investigate the cases, some of them were closed on grounds that the officials have not admitted fraud of violations in their activity. In the picture: Instead of a "temporary commercial kiosk", which had to be lifted on 39 m.p., Fariman Godjaev built a shopping center. Photo: Tudor Iaşcenco Businesses to order The Decision No. 5/84 dated May 25, 2012 rules that
How public money was spent for a road to the house of a Liberal Party councilor
Late last year, the Chisinau City Hall ordered pavement with chippings of about 1,000 meters of road in an area of villas near the village Tohatin, a suburb of the capital. Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca has allocated 300,000 lei from the municipal budget. Outraged by the mayor’s decision, local authorities in Tohatin argue that the road was paved namely in the sector where Mariana Lungu, Liberal Party Councilor in Municipal Council Chisinau lives, the road leads to the gate of the liberal MP. Officials in Tohatin say that roads in neighborhood are muddy and the money for roads’ reparation is
Illegal businesses with Chisinau City Hall endanger the activity of the seismic station
The construction of a 16-storey block of flats on a plot of only five acres near the central seismic station in Chisinau jeopardizes the work of this institution. Scientists warn that the construction work will disrupt the activity of seismologists. On the other hand, Chisinau City Hall, which authorized the construction, says that it cannot violate the right to private property. The controversial estate project is owned by company Lucet-Comert SRL, a company close to the Chisinau City Hall, beneficiary of the largest contracts from public money. How Lucet-Comert owned a part of the park of the Academy of Science The
Illegal sand extraction from the Nistru and Prut Rivers: some get wealthy while the country has losses
The Republic of Moldova has two inland waterways of international importance: the Nistru and the Prut Rivers. Representatives of the fleets of these two rivers insist that they must constantly clean these waterways and every year on this pretext, hundreds of tons of sand, gravel and stones are illegally extracted. Materials are sold illegally, nobody keeps track of them. Most often, work is done in places where, in fact, ships are not sailing, say employees of the Ministry of Environment. Furthermore, the extraction of sand from rivers is not a commercial activity provided for by the Licensing Agency, and
Manipulations in the judiciary system
Though the Judiciary Inspection found no violations in the distribution of cases, data from the Integrated Case Management Program show the existence of several problems. The program of random distribution of cases works perfectly, says the Judiciary Inspection (IJ) that verified the registration and distribution of cases in Moldovan Courts within 9 months, based on the Integrated Case Management Program (PIGD). Inspection findings come a few weeks after the General Prosecutor announced that he had sent to court a criminal case concerning Iurie Turcan, Judge of Riscani District Court, allegedly involved in defrauding the system of random distribution of cases. Prosecution
Relatives’ rout at Moldatsa
Employees of the State Enterprise "Moldatsa" have benefited from huge salaries, increments, bonuses for tasks included in their job responsibilities and zero interest rate loans estimated at thousands of dollars in the past two years. Many of them are relatives of state officials. All these in conditions when in 2014, the total revenue decreased by 68.7 million lei against 2013. Veaceslav Frunze, head of the State Enterprise “Moldatsa” as of August 2014, was dismissed at the beginning of September 2015. Shortly, Iurie Chirinciuc, Minister of Transportation and Road Infrastructure (MTID), who has been managing this enterprise, ordered an audit report
National Ecological Fund, for the press close to ruling parties?
Created two decades ago to support initiatives in environmental protection, the National Ecological Fund (FEN) has become in recent years a source of financing some media pojects close to some parties and actions of polishing the image of heads of the Environment Ministry. In the absence of a transparent mechanism for money allocation, this is shared at the discretion of some officials of the Ministry of Environment, based on a formal assessment. Money for the association of Andrian Candu’s adviser In the last five years, over 7.7 million lei from the budget of the National Ecological Fund (NEF) has been allocated
Trade with Public Land
Moldovan businesses have found a way to buy up public land by paying several times less money than the market price of the land. The scheme is simple: they lease in the land on which they have set their eyes from the local authorities, they build economic objects on them, and then they request to buy the land at its normative price as being adjacent to private constructions. Although the Court of Account has been signaling for years in a row that this practice drastically reduces the budget revenues and can be qualified as “fraud risk”, nobody has been
Eight million lei provided by the Ecological Fund in Moldova for “textbooks” that are not used
Half a million books for the optional course "Ecological Education" were published in 2015, while only 22,000 students have chosen to study this subject. Thus, a student accounts for 30 books. Authorities hope that the number of students who want to study ecology will increase, but headmasters say that there is a risk that these books are stored for years in libraries and nobody will ever look through them, especially that the authors have developed them based on the old curriculum. The set of teaching materials (support for pupils and teachers’ guide) for the optional course "Ecological Education" was published
How Moldovan Railways Has Lost Wagons of Millions
Moldovan Railways, which has got to the point of inability to pay salaries this year, wasted revenues of over 50 million lei from the rent of its wagons in the previous years. The money did not go into the state enterprise accounts but to those of some suspicious companies. Prosecutors suspect that the owners of these companies have worked hand in hand with the heads of the Moldovan Railways. Intermediaries of millions In 2005-2007, Moldovan Railways rented 800 wagons to three private Moldovan companies. The companies, two of which had been founded just half a year before, were chosen without any
The Press House without Press
The Press House is used as premises for companies that provide different kind of services – from legal and notary services and business consulting to tourism, trade and public catering. There is even a dentist’s office located here. This institution could rather be called a business center than the house of free press. The Press House, a company managed by the State Chancery of the Government since 1994 is used as premises (leased in space) by 171 legal entities. Only 27% of them are media companies – 44 periodicals and two news agencies. The media outlets that rent one or
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