Justice

Apartments at low price for magistrate Oleg Melniciuc’s mother and relatives in the residential block for judges

Blocul locativ de pe strada Hristo Botev 6. Foto: CIJM
Author: Viorica Zaharia
29/11/2016 26762

The head of the court Oleg Melniciuc, his mother and some of his relatives will get apartments and commercial property in the residential block on the street Hristo Botev 6 in Chisinau, which is currently being built for the magistrates of Rascani District Court in the capital and for their children. The magistrate himself who initially said that, though he owned some  dwellings and  he would like some flats for his children, he did not buy any flat in this block, but a commercial space. The president of the Superior Council of Magistracy Victor Micu received a flat in the same residential block without having requested it, upon a separate decision.

Oleg Melniciuc, at general meeting of judges. Photo: CIJM

On 3 June 2014, Chisinau Municipal Council allocated to the Superior Council of Magistracy  a plot with a surface of 0.605 ha on the street Hristo Botev 6 for construction of a residential building . Judges from Rascani District Court and employees of the Constitutional Court can buy apartments at minimum cost in this block. Responsible for the whole project is Rascani District Court, whose president Oleg Melniciuc came up with the initiative to build a residential block for magistrates and he was responsible for getting the land from the Municipal Council. Thus, the court paid over two million lei for land lease and elected members of the working group who decided whom to give the apartments.

The working group in charge to decide on the distribution of apartments to employees of  Rascani District Court , was mainly made up from employees of the court and leader was elected president of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM), Victor Micu. The working group has convened several meetings and approved the lists of beneficiaries. Thus, employees of the Rascani District Court purchased apartments at the price of 360 Euros per square meter and 300 Euros for square meter. An apartment with a surface of 80 square meters, for example, cost less than 29,000 Euros and if the apartment is located on the top floor, then the price for the same surface will be 24,000 Euros. Such an apartment would cost at least twice as expensive on the market.

In total, according to the  reports of the meetings of the working group submitted to the Center for Investigative Journalism by Rascani District Court, at least 47 employees of the Court- judges, assistants, court clerks etc. received apartments in that block.

Report of the working group,  April 27, 2015

Construction of the residential building on str. Hristo Botev, 6 started in 2014. Photo: CIJM

Oleg Melniciuc bought commercial property in the residential block for judges

Initially, Oleg Melniciuc  said before the working group that he wanted that both he and his colleagues ensure their children with housing (information fixed in report - no). In the end, Oleg Melniciuc preferred to take a commercial space in that building. The room has 82 square meters and is located on the ground floor. "The court president, Mr. Oleg Melniciuc, who took care at that time  of three minor children (now,  he has four minors), asked the entrepreneur to contract a commercial space equal to the surface of an apartment",  explained, in an official reply, head of Secretariat of Rascani District Court, Zinaida Dumitrasco.

"I  take care of four children and currently, it is  more convenient to lease this space and gain some money.  They are small, are minors. When they grow up, we will decide what to do, but for now, I need money to raise them", explained Oleg Melniciuc.

With relatives all together

Oleg Melniciuc’s mother, who currently lives in village Mandac, district Drochia, owns a flat in the residential block for magistrates. In July 2016, she received an 80 square meter apartment, writes information from the cadastral register. Also, other 3 relatives of the chairman of the Court have apartments in the same block: Anna Bobeica, Andrei Melinciuc and Aurelia Melenciuc. The latter owns a two room flat (73 square meters) and a commercial space by three times higher than the one purchased by Oleg Melniciuc - 241 square meters.

Being asked how these persons got into the possession of the apartments in the block for judges, Oleg Melniciuc replied through the secretariat of the court: „ We inform you that Melniciuc Elena Pavel  is Oleg Melniciuc’s mother, who intends to settle in Chisinau and the persons named Bobeica Anna, Melinciuc​ Andrei, Melenciuc Aurelia are distant relatives of Mr. Oleg Melniciuc, who searched a possibility to invest their own money and contracted spaces in this block at the recommendation of Oleg Melniciuc, or when a person from the native village asks you where you can contract a real estate, you will recommend something that you are sure that the investments will not be lost or stolen, like it happened to many investors in constructions”.

The judge himself gave a similar answer when we requested some information about the transactions performed by his relatives: „I recommended this economic unit to them; I told them that this economic unit will finish the construction and they will not lose the money.  They went directly to the economic unit and they do not have any connection with the apartments for judges. They contracted directly the economic unit. I cannot say the price”.

We tried to find Oleg Melniciuc’s relatives who bought apartments in the residential block for judges. We discussed with Aurelia Melenciuc’s parents. Initially, they said that their daughter worked at Drochia Bus Station and then that she worked in Italy and would return home in May. They confirmed that their daughter bought an apartment and a commercial space in Chisinau.

Director of the construction company Exfactor Grup Vladimir Tonu  confirmed that the magistrate recommended to some relatives to require the services of his company. „He asked to make some discounts from our funds. If for example, I know you and you ask me for a discount, I will make a 30 to 50 euro discount per square meter. They bought them at commercial price, including our discounts. As for the list of beneficiaries covering judges, I do not know anything about it, I do not know them. Oleg Melniciuc requested a fixed number of apartments. I know that they were not distributed to judges, not yet to give them to his relatives”, said Vladimir Tonu.

Magistrate Oleg Melniciuc lives with his family in an apartment  with an area of 162 square meters, whose construction ended in 2011. In his 2015 statement on property, he declared that he owned several other properties, except the commercial space on str. Hristo Botev: two "constructions for housing” gained in 2005, an agricultural plot and one plot near his house. Also, two years ago, Ziarul de Garda wrote that Oleg Melniciuc’s mother, aged 77,  owned three commercial spaces in new buildings in Chisinau and a construction plot, which all together are worth over 4 million lei, according to data from the Cadastre. The judge denied any connection with these spaces.  "These spaces belong to the person who has documents registered on their names.  They are not on sale. Sir, if I had any connection with them, I could buy them long time ago and register them on my name. "

Oleg Melniciuc and Victor Micu at the general meeting of judges. Photo: CIJM

Chairman of the Supreme Court of Magistracy owns a flat though he did not filed any official  request

Chairman of the Superior Council of Magistracy (SCM) Victor Micu also owns a flat in the block on str. Hristo Botev. „Mr. Micu was selected by the staff of the Court as member of the working group not because he is chairman of SCM, but because he is judge of Rascani District Court. He did not file any official request, it was my decision, I coordinated it with him, I asked him if he wants it.  I know that he has 2 girls”, said Oleg Melniciuc.

The working group convened a separate meeting to decide on distributing an apartment to Victor Micu and they examined just one issue in the absence of the chairman of the SCM. "Oleg Melniciuc proposes the possibility to contract an apartment at a preferential price, which is a guarantor of the integrity and the possibility of ensuring the two children with housing in future, or according to data presented, Victor Micu owns a flat with a surface of 109 square meters and two children and has a work experience as judge of over 16 years”, reads the report of the meeting from 27 July 2015 of the working group. Thus, a few months later, in April 2016, chairman of SCM was registered at Cadastre as owner of a flat with a surface of 79 square meters, worth   28.440 Euros.

We could not find from Victor Micu why he himself did not file a request to get apartment. Chairman of SCM did not reply to our request and sent it to Rascani District Court that manages this project.

In his 2015 statement on property, chairman of SCM showed that he owned an apartment with a surface of 109 square meters, which he received based on an investment agreement in 2009. He declared incomes just from the salary from SCM - 273.000 lei (about 22.000 lei monthly) – and payment for didactic activity at University of European Studies, Slavonian University and the National Justice Institute. These are the only incomes gained by family Micu. The magistrate’s wife is not employed.

Report of the meeting of the working group that decided on assuring housing to chairman of SCM Victor Micu

Company Exfactor Grup is known in the judiciary. In the last years, 2011-2015, it has gained 5 tenders in constructions at Buiucani and Rascani District Courts. According to data of the Public Procurement Agency, in 2011, Exfactor Grup signed an agreement worth over 10 million lei for capital reparation of Buiucani District Court and in 2014- an agreement worth over 6 million lei for the construction of the attic and arrange there a court room at Rascani District Court. Another additional agreement worth over one million lei was signed a year later. Also, the same company gained  in 2015 a procurement contest organized by Rascani District Court and received an agreement worth 799.000 lei for general reparation and space reconstruction.

This investigation has been accomplished as part of the “Journalists for Integrity in Public Service” campaign, carried out by the Center for Investigative Journalism with the support of the Good Governance Program of Soros Foundation Moldova. The donor does not influence the topic or content of the published investigations.

 

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