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 used to patch holes in the asphalt.
The sector of villas at the fruit tree association "Izvorasul vesel" where Mariana Lungu has house is next to Tohatin village on the edge of the path leading to Vadul lui Voda. The place where there are many luxury houses, does not have status of incorporated area and is not component part of the village Tohatin. The houses are not registered at Cadastre, do not have address and the owners do not pay property tax, only land taxes for agricultural land. This land was actually distributed for agricultural purposes with the construction of summer houses. Luxury houses are built on this area and many councilors live there.
Paved road to the house of the Liberal Party councilor
Coincidentally or not, the road of crushed stone is arranged around Mariana Lungu’s villa, leading up to the gate of the Liberal Party councilor. There are roads in the neighborhood, which have not been repaired; this can be seen from the drone filming. The works, which cost 299.500 lei were performed by SA Edilitate.
Drone filming. Photos by Anatol Matasaru and Stefan Scorpan
A document signed by Igor Gamretki, head of the General Division of Public Transport and Communication means of Chisinau shows that the segment of the road has the status of gateway to fruit tree associations, which, under the act, is part of town Tohatin. According to Igor Gamretki, the decision to perform the work was taken by Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca. On 19 October 2015, the mayor signed the Resolution No. 883-d "On current works of maintenance and repair of local and suburban infrastructure in city Chisinau executed during 2015" and Provision No.1063-d dated December, 9 2015 "On carrying out works of maintenance, current repair and security of roads and streets in Chisinau during the winter-spring 2016 “.
Head of Division of General Public Transport and Communication Means in Chisinau claims that the mayor decided to allocate money for construction of the road to "Izvorasul vesel" after in April 2015, the City Hall received a petition signed by heads of five associations near Tohatin, which has 2,300 associates. The signatories requested allocation of funds for building a road to connect the fruit tree associations to the street.
Authorities in Tohatin: "They made road for the Liberal Party councilor and said that it was for our village "
Local authorities in village Tohatin say that the road pavement from "Izvorasul vesel" by Chisinau City Hall is illegal. The local councilor Vitalie Miron says that the fruit tree associations are not part of the locality, but at paper level, the money was earmarked for village Tohatin. "Money from the budget can be earmarked for locality’s development; by the fruit tree association has not status of locality. Chisinau City Hall allocated 18.000 lei in 2015 for roads reparation in village Tohatin. We patched some holes in the asphalt. Obviously, the road was paved for councilor Mariana Lungu”, said Vitalie Miron. Also, he underlined that though representatives of many fruit tree associations went to the City Hall, the road was paved just for "Izvorasul vesel".
Mayor of village Tohatin Serghei Cebotari is outraged by the construction of this road. "Village Bunet in the district has bad roads. We have been requesting funds from the City Hall for years and we get some thousands of lei… while residents of the sector of villas went to the City Hall and their request was immediately settled. Also, they lie that money was given for roads reparation in village Tohatin, while the fruit tree associations are not part of our village”, said Serghei Cebotari.
Mariana Lungu: "What should I do now, sell my house?"
The Liberal Party councilor in Chisinau City Hall says that she did not interfere when the road was paved. "People wanted to have a better road and they went to the City Hall. It was not done for me. Prosecutors and judges live here, perhaps the road was paved for them ", said the councilor.
Mariana Lungu said that she built her house with much love from the incomes of her husband as he has a construction company. “What should I do now, sell my house and go away, just because a road was paved for people and I am councilor of the Liberal Party??", asked rhetorically Mariana Lungu.
Expert: "It is like you do good to your neighbour”
A former employee of the Chisinau City Hall , expert in Land Law said that the institution was not entitled to develop the infrastructure on a territory that does not have status of locality.
"These plots were distributed as agricultural land. However, many of them built luxury houses and live there. All these constructions are illegal, they are not registered anywhere. I think these fruit tree associations should be given the status of a village, so that people there can benefit from social services, to be included in electoral lists, and to pay taxes for the property. As for road construction at a fruit tree association, it is an abuse on behalf of City Hall, which falls under criminal law. It's like you do good to your neighbor", concluded the expert.
Who is Mariana Lungu
Mariana Lungu has studied accountancy and law, she manages the Manege of Athletics in Chisinau. She is an active member of the Liberal Party; she is at second term of municipal councilor. In the 2011 local elections, she donated 28,000 lei to the Liberal Party. According to the statement on income for 2014, Mariana Lungu had revenues of nearly 52,000 lei from the salary and 17,600 lei from allowances for activity in Chisinau Municipal Council. Her husband, who is director of the construction company Faniconst received a salary worth 54,000 lei in 2014. According to the statement, incomes of the family Lungu in 2014 were by 20.000 lei smaller than in 2013. Mariana Lungu said that she owned 3 plots and a villa with a surface of 71.4 square meters and which she included in the "other real estate property".
This investigation is carried out within the Project „Shining a Light on Corruption in Moldova” carried by the Center for investigative Journalism and Freedom House with the financial support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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