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 land where SRL Lucet – Comert wants to build constructions is located on the so-called "red lines" (underground communication networks, water supply and high voltage power lines). In 2000, this plot was distributed as private ownership by former mayor Serafim Urechean to a person called Emilian Masliucov who requested land for building a house. He committed himself to build a 2-storey house within 3 years. If he did not comply with this commitment, the newly owner would have to return the plot to the local public administration. The City Hall did not consider the fact that this plot was managed by the Science Academy.
Author of the video: Anatol Matasaru
Scheme to seize the plot
Just three months after Masliucov got property rights, he paid for the plot about 300 lei (normative price of the land), sold it at market price, which in 2000 enabled to buy a two-bedroom apartment. The scheme is known: the land is obtained by a person or family who has the right to ask for plot for building a house, then, the plot is sold, the new owner sells it again and thus, the third purchaser is considered to act in good faith. The process of sale-purchase is often fictitious. The scheme is planned so that it reaches “the right person”, so that a real estate company builds a block of flats and gets a pretty good income. The stakes are high for such plots taken for free from municipal property. Experts from Expert-Grup say that the revenue from a 7-storey building, built in Chisinau is worth one million euros (!). Exactly following this scheme, this plot, was sold three times within 8 years and in 2008, it was bought by Ludmila Cecetova, owner of the construction company Lucet - Comert.
"Company close to City Hall" with agreements of millions from public funds
SRL Lucet - Comert is the company that in the last five years, won contracts worth 175 million lei from Chisinau City Hall and municipal subdivisions. The press wrote several times that Lucian Chirtoaca, brother of mayor of Chisinau, Dorin Chirtoaca owns this company. The mayor denied that his brother had anything to do with that company. SRL Lucet - Comert is one of the companies very close to the municipality, if we consider the list of public contracts won in recent years. SRL Lucet - Comert was established in 2002. Initially, the company activated in the field of retail commerce of food products. Gradually, it started works in construction. The construction projects of the economic unit cover: general school in the village Dancu, district Hincesti, aqueduct in town Hancesti and in Ceadir-Lunga, str. Studentilor and pedestrian street Alexandru Diordita in Chisinau, as well as residential block on str. Ghioceilor under the social Program "First House", implemented by Chisinau City Hall. Also, Lucet - Comert performed works to install the monument of the Victims of the deportations in the Railway Square in Chisinau. The company built houses for the flood victims in village Nemteni and village Cotul Morii in 2010.
The information published on the website of the Ministry of Regional Development and Construction proves that in August 2010, Lucet – Comert had the lowest business figure (4,5 million lei) of economic units entitled to build houses for victims in district Hancesti. This discontented other economic units, who said that Lucet-Comert won illegally this tender.
Another scandal of this company relates to the poor quality of works performed on the pedestrian street. Though, initially the project on str. Diordita was estimated at 6 million lei, the works cost over 12 million lei, twice higher. According to the current legislation, the initial sum of the agreement can increase by up to 30% for public procurement. "I do not understand, why Lucet – Comert was not sanctioned for poor quality of works ", wrote the municipal councilor Ilian Casu on a socialization net.
The largest project won by Lucet – Comert from Chisinau City Hall relates to the construction of parking places in the courtyards in Chisinau, worth over 53 million lei.
Construction authorization without coordination
In the coming years, the land is pledged for contracting loans. For a period of seven years, this plot is pledged six times. It was pledged on 27 November 2015 last, to Moldinconbank for a loan worth 3.483 million lei. This was possible despite the restrictions imposed by the bailiffs over this plot.
In late 2014, Cecetova filed a complaint to Chisinau City Hall and requested authorization to build a block of flats. The company received the certificate of urbanism to build a 16-storey construction on February 18, 2015 and two years later- the authorization for construction.
No one took into account the opinion of the Institute of Geodesy and Seismology, located in close proximity. This in spite of the fact that the Law authorizing work in construction, in force since 2010, stipulates that for issuing the urbanism certificate it is necessary to have the notary agreement signed by the co-owners of property / land whose interests may be affected directly in the process of execution of construction and during the commissioning of the construction. Moreover, according to general Urban Plan of Chisinau, the area where Lucet-Comert builds constructions, is placed in a special urban area, a fact that excludes the construction of multi-storey blocks. The reply addressed to the leadership of the Moldova Science Academy by Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Construction Anatolie Zolotcov says that the "land is located in the urban area with the code" S ", that does not allow classification in areas for housing, commercial or industrial purposes." As a result, a month later, the State Construction Inspectorate issued a prescription which "prohibits the commencement of construction of a building that does not fall under the provisions of the General Urban Plan".
Favors from municipal services
All obstacles were removed. On December 9, 2015 the chief architect of capital, Ion Carpov convened the Urban Council. It adopted a decision on amending the general urban plan; the status of the region was changed, so that Lucet-Comert can build multilevel blocks in the park from the special area.
The block Lucet-Comert began to be built without coordination with the fire department. Ion Postolati, director of the Center of expertise in construction argues that this construction could not start without authorization from the fire service. "It is possible to build such a house on a small territory. But it's complicated. Access of at least 5 meters from the building is necessary at such height, so that firefighters can handle the fire. Otherwise, in case of a fire, consequences can be tragic", said the expert.
The source also claims that a question mark hangs over the way Chisinau City Hall has handled this situation. "I know cases when entrepreneurs or even ordinary people went to the City Hall several times to get construction authorization. People are said to coordinate it with firefighters, epidemiologists, archaeologists etc. Even if they fulfill all these conditions, they expect the document for years. There is a serious dispute with Cecetova and yet the acts were issued in a record time", said Postolati.
Scientists from the Experimental Seismology Center of Institute of Geodesy and Seismology say that the activity of the Center will be compromised. Ion Ilies, head of the center said that in 2010 the seismic station in Chisinau was endowed with modern equipment from donations in Romania. "Our activity can be extended by implementing seismic warning system that detects in real time and warns by 35-40 second before strong earthquakes that happen at a depth of 60-200 kilometers and which strongly affect the territory of the Republic of Moldova. If a construction is built nearby, the system functionality will be disrupted", said the scientist.
Ilies said that the building of the seismic station is a special construction, designed and built in 1988 with a high degree of resistance to high intensity earthquakes. The observatory is located on a plot of 60 acres, which represents the Protection zone for noise reduction, enabling registration of weak earthquakes.
Solutions proposed by Gheorghe Duca
President of the Academy of Science Gheorghe Duca said that he was thinking how to solve the problem when (in 2013) has prepared a draft government decision that provided for a plot on str. Sprincenoaia offered to Ludmila Cecetova to replace the plot placed near the seismic station. According to the draft, Cecetova was supposed to get a larger plot by 350 square meters.
On his turn, Gheorghe Duca said that he considered the interests of the state when he proposed this draft. "We are worried with the actions of Cecetova. I had to propose a larger plot to convince them accept the relocation. Also, the experts said that the plot of land owned by Ludmila Cecetova has a higher value than the one proposed by us. I just want to save an institution of national importance. This is an indignity, the way they act. They do not care about the fact that the Chisinau City Hall issued illegal construction authorization, without our consent ", said Duca.
National Anti-corruption Center says that it is an understanding and the state will be compromised
Duca's initiative was criticized by the National Anti-Corruption Centre (NAC) that analyzed a draft Government decision on the relocation and exchange of some lands and found that it is affected of corruptibility.
A, investigation carried out by NAC shows that Duca has stakes in this draft and it would compromise the state of over nine million lei. Furthermore, NAC experts are of the opinion that it is an illegal scheme to seize public land and the president of the Academy of Science might be involved in this scheme. "Proofs of NAC are based on several analyses conducted on this case, including the alleged links of citizen Cecetova with the Chisinau City Hall and SRL Lucet - Comert, founded by her. The company operates in the construction and in 2015, it contracted works amounting to 3,800,000 lei with the National Institute of Economic Research of Academy of Science in Moldova (ASM). In conclusion, this draft aims to promote both the interests of ASM on one hand and the interests of individuals and businesses on the other hand, which can cause damage on the state", say the experts from NAC.
Chisinau City Hall: Project has all necessary details
City Hall has a clear answer to this problem: the right to private property must be respected. Ion Carpov, acting head of the General Directorate of Architecture, Urban Planning and Land Relations wrote in a letter sent on 20 October 2015 to the management of the Institute of Geodesy and Seismology, that all projections were made in compliance with the law: "Project of execution was checked and coordinated with all relevant institutions. "
The same opinion is shared by Nistor Grozavu, deputy-mayor of municipality Chisinau, who signed the authorization for construction. "It is about the private property and the owner is entitled to build whatever he wants. Do you know what private property means? It is something saint. We cannot stop him. The consent of the Academy of Science is not necessary. The agreement of neighbors is stipulated when the property or land is common", says Grozavu.
Manager of Lucet - Comert: We will make use of the right to private property
Ivan Negara, manager of Lucet - Comert SRL and brother of Ludmila Cecetova say that they do not accept relocation of the plot. "I do not trust. In such a way, the Academy of Science tries to delay the works. It is the final decision of the court, which obliges the Academy of Science not to hamper access to the property. We will use the right to private property; I am entitled to build what I want on my land. It will be a beautiful and modern block. Everything is lawful", says the entrepreneur. Asked about the special status of the Zone, Ivan Negara claims that he has solved this problem: "I found a good specialist who has solved this problem. The area has been changed."
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.
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 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
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.
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
The stories from www.anticoruptie.md may be used in the limit of up to 1,000 characters. Web pages must indicate the source and link directly to the article. Print media, Radio and TV stations must indicate the source. Publishing full version of stories is allowed based on a prior agreement with the Center for Investigative Journalism. Articles published on www.anticoruptie.md are protected by the Law on copyright and related rights of Republic of Moldova.