The Authorities of the Capital City, "Eminent" In Squandering Money for Derelict Schools
At least ten schools of Chișinău municipality have been closed over the past years because of the small number of pupils. Beyond the decision about their closedown, the authorities intended to make savings. However, the reality shows that, in the absence of a clear strategy, the buildings of phantom schools still continue to devour millions of lei from the municipal budget. Experts argue that an estimate of the number of pupils and schools should be done and that planning of the use of empty areas should be done based on the respective figures: either to change their destination, or to rent them to private educational institutions, as a result of public tenders.
For nearly one year, the municipality is financing the capital renovation of the former gymnasium no. 52, closed three years ago, because of the small number of pupils. The school building, located on Cornului street, in Buiucani sector, has three storeys and an area of over 4,000 square meters. According to the design plan, the school was intended for at least 600 children. When the decision about school closedown was made, the institution had less than 100 children, most of them being afterwards transferred to a nearby lycee. Shortly after that, the authorities decided to start the renovation of the abandoned building, intending to reopen it when the renovation is completed. After the closedown of the school, five people still continue to work there: three guards, a janitor and the head of the auxiliary service. In an official response sent to the Centre for Journalistic Investigations, the Capital Constructions Directorate of Chișinău municipality pointed out that the total amount of renovation costs is over 8.8 million lei. According to the contract signed on 9th of July 2014 between the Directorate for Capital Constructions and Varincom LLC, the company selected to carry out the works, the renovation of the building was to be completed one year ago, in May 2015. Throughout the past year, no less than two million lei were invested in this institution. The money was used for full roof renovation and for strengthening building no. 1, at the level of the roof, with reinforced concrete belts. In addition to it, the facade of building no. 3 and the walls in the sports room were plastered, and additional works were performed in buildings no. 2 and no. 3 in order to make possible the execution of roofing works. The remaining part of his contract amounts to over 6.8 million lei.
“The difficult situation” on the construction site thwarted the plans of the authorities
At present, the works are stopped because of some cracks, as confirmed by the Capital Constructions Directorate. According to this directorate’s representatives, “the situation on the site is difficult and practically all the works have been stopped”, being necessary to modify the design plan. The technical expertise of the buildings was performed by IMP Chișinăuproiect, the company that won the tender for the provision of design services to the above-mentioned institution. But while developing the design plans, the employees of IMP Chișinăuproiect used a technical expertise made back in 2007, which recommended the consolidation of cracks appeared in the exterior and interior walls of the limestone block masonry. According to Grigore Rotaru, technical director of the Directorate for Capital Constructions, the works might only be resumed after a new technical expertise.
Being contacted by the Centre for Journalistic Investigations, Tatiana Nagnibeda-Tverdohleb, the head of Education, Youth and Sport Directorate of Chişinău Municipal Council (CMC), stated that the school might reopen on 1st of September 2017, if the renovation works are completed by then. Another condition, equally important, is that the school gathers a sufficient number of children. “In this area, a lot of new houses are being built, we believe that there will be children wishing to attend this school”, Tatiana Nagnibeda-Tverdohleb added.
The former school no. 52 is not the only educational institution in Chișinău where public money is invested without having a clear final aim of such expenditures. The Centre for Journalistic Investigations has previously written about two phantom-schools with budgets of hundreds of thousands of lei – the former gymnasiums no. 3 and no. 6 of Botanica sector. One year ago, the reporters revealed that 1.5 million lei were spent throughout two years for the two abandoned buildings. The largest share of money was spent for paying salaries to the directors and the guards, and the rest of the amount - for repairs. Although these institutions are not functional since 2012, the Municipal Council of Chișinău has delayed for a long time their formal closedown.
Relatively recently, the authorities started renovation works at Gymnasium no. 3, a building for 980 seats, intending to transform it into a school with inclusive practices. Chişinău Municipal Council issued two decisions concerning the allocation of resources for preparing the building for the transfer of children from “Pro Success” inclusive school. “Children with various disabilities attend this school and the kindergarten premises (where the school is now located – editor’s note) are no more sufficient. This hinders the institution’s development. A kindergarten will be re-opened in the building after the transfer of children”, says Anatol Ivanu, head of the Education, Youth and Sports Directorate of Botanica sector of Chişinău.
According to the official, investments of over three million lei have been made in the building so far, the money having been used to replace the windows and for the engineering networks: cold and hot water supply facilities, sewerage, heating system, electricity network, etc. But the works are still far from being completed – the floor and the stairs need to be renovated, etc. And taking into account that children with special needs will learn in this building, the authorities should also think about adapting the building for wheelchair access, what requests a lift and ramps. Anatol Ivanu estimates that there is need for two million lei more to complete the works. “The budget for 2016 has not been approved yet. At this moment, it is difficult to make a close to the truth prognosis. We expressed our expectations, now let's see what the councillors will decide”, Anatol Ivanu said. Previously, Tatiana Nagnibeda-Tverdohleb estimated, within a dialogue with the reporters of the Centre for Journalistic Investigations, that the building of Gymnasium no. 3 might be ready in August and that children from “Pro Success” might move into it in September.
“I am not going to move to a stable. I do not know who told it to you, but that building needs repairs. They have just replaced the windows and nothing more. The walls are falling down, as no lessons have been done there since 2014. As far as I know, the money was allocated just on paper. I cannot afford to move with the children and parents no matter where. It is true that we do not have enough area here. This year we have even more applications”, Nadia Cristea, the director of “Pro Succes” lycee declared.
A school rented without conducting a public tender
School no. 6 is another institution closed in 2012. Its building was derelict for over three years, a period during which the building has degraded, and the municipality has paid at least one million lei for its maintenance and for the salaries of the several remaining employees. On 19th of May 2015, the Council passed the decision to rent the building whose total area is over 10,000 square meters to the theoretical lycee “Horizon”, a private educational institution, for further location of a new school. The administration of the private lycee committed to perform the building’s renovation and restoration. On the other hand, the decision of the municipal council was challenged by Chișinău Territorial Office of the State Chancellery, being invoked the fact that the municipal council had infringed the legal provisions, as there was no public tender for the lease of the building under consideration. Or, according to the Law on local public administration, the alienation, the lease or rental of the goods of administrative-territorial units shall be done as a result of a public tender. CMC has also infringed the Education Code which stipulates that the assets managed by the educational institutions can be leased or rented for a term not exceeding five years.
The magistrates of the court of Centre sector of Chișinău pointed out that the lease of the building should have been done as a result of an open public tender, giving priority to the bid offering the highest price.
A town hall instead of the school
The Town Hall of Durlesti, a suburb of Chișinău, is now located in the building of the former school no. 84 of this village. The institution, in which Russian was the language of instruction, was closed several years ago. At that time, the school had only 64 pupils. According to the chief accountant, Larisa Vitiuc, the employees of the mayoralty moved from a very old building to the school building by the year 2010. A decision of the local elected officials allowed that temporary displacement, until the reconstruction of the Town Hall’s old building. “All the required measures have been undertaken, but the project was stopped, because of the shortage of money. We have not changed the destination of the institution. We have renovated the building: the windows were replaced and the heating system was repaired. We spent a total sum of about 800,000 lei”, Larisa Vitiuc explained.
According to a study conducted previously by Expert-Grup, during the period 2005-2012, an average number of 430,000 pupils per year were educated in schools of the Republic of Moldova, with a strong tendency towards the reduction of the number of pupils each year. “We could remark a tendency towards the decrease of the average number of pupils per school, from 333 pupils in 2005 to 263 pupils in 2013. While the number of schools decreased by 10.2% (157 schools were closed), the number of pupils decreased by 29.2%”, according to this study.
Olesea Stamate, President of the Association for Efficient and Responsible Governance (AGER), argues that the lack of strategic planning applies to most fields in the Republic of Moldova and local public administration, including the one of Chișinău, is not an exception from this perspective. “Unfortunately, under the conditions of an austerity budget, money is still being pumped in buildings with an uncertain future. Or maybe it is uncertain for us, the ordinary citizens, and those at the helm of the city have well-drawn plans for them. I cannot find any another explanation for such “gestures of charity”. If they are still not ill-intentioned, being a result of maladministration, then there is only one solution: assessing the need for schools in Chișinău, based on the number of pupils and on the demographic trends. The results of such an assessment should lie on the basis of planning the use of the former school premises which are no longer needed as schools and changing their destination. Or, why not, such buildings might be rented to private schools, but obviously after a public tender. In both cases, the municipal budget will gain, not lose, as it is happening now”, Olesea Stamate believes.
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:
THE BIG SHOTS OF AMBULANCES
● The Moldovan citizens will have to pay back a loan of 12 million euros from the Development Bank of the Council of Europe (CEB) following an allegedly political contract for the delivery of 168 ambulances assembled in Turkey, on the border with Syria, by obscure companies connected to the AKP party run by Turkish President, Recep Erdogan. ● The tender`s budget was increased after an exaggerated amount of quality consumables worth about 2 million lei [100,000 euros] were introduced in the specifications. ● The procurement procedures were launched three weeks after the illegal deportation of seven Turkish teachers from Moldova in September 2018. Moldovan
Only in 2017, the state institutions in the Republic of Moldova spent over MDL 74.8 million for unplanned increases in the price of public procurements made. For this reason, about 700 additional agreements on increasing the value of the procurement contracts were signed. In 2015 and 2016, the price increases approved by additional agreements amounted to MDL 222.2 million and MDL 310.3 million, respectively. According to the experts, there are several reasons why the public authorities accept this. Sometimes, these increases are justified, in other cases - these are made because of someone’s interest or unwillingness of the contracting
Perished food products with “bio” label in kindergartens in Chisinau: companies, schemes and tenders
Several audio recordings of intercepted phone calls of employees of some kindergartens, officials of the Departments of Education, Youth and Sport of Chisinau and of several businessmen have shocked the public opinion. Intercepted phone calls reveal that small children in kindergarten were supplied with perished food products. Names of the persons involved are kept in secret by investigators who pretend to fear for the safety of the families who supplied the children with perished fish and meat. Center for Investigative Journalism managed to identify some of the businessmen who appear in intercepted phone calls and analyzed the companies that
Grand motorsports complex planned in Orhei, for which there is no money
Orhei authorities have announced two years ago about the construction of a European motorsports complex, in the absence of enough money. Almost two million lei were wasted for designing the complex: 1.2 million lei from the national budget and over 600,000 from the district budget, after which the project stopped, because money was not earmarked for the construction. The Court of Auditors found that the design was done in the absence of a feasibility study and the procurement group rejected the company that proposed the lowest price as the selection criterion was breached. As a result, the National Anticorruption
“Sick” procurements in healthcare field
National Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices (AMDM) announces a public tender for supply with necessary medicines for hospitals in 2017. As much as about 500 million lei were earmarked for healthcare field. Center for Investigative Journalism showed in an investigation that, in previous years, public money intended for procurement in Health – about 800 million lei - reached the accounts of seven companies. Four of them were included in 2015 in the blacklist of the Public Procurement Agency, after Moldovan medical institutions faced a drug shortage crisis which, according to authorities, was caused by the boycott of these
Modernization with criminal case at Moldova State University. Illegal tender or attempted political revenge?
Moldova State University (USM) and the construction company Lagmar-Impex SRL started a few years ago a large investment for infrastructure development of the educational institution that would end in 2018. Under the project, the company committed to renovating many dormitories for students and a classroom block. Instead, USM ceded 2 plots in the center of the capital. Here, the company raised a huge residential complex which sells apartments, whose prices start from 444 euros/ 1 square meter. A year ago, the "business" came into sight of Anticorruption prosecutors and officers. The police suspected that the public tender for the
Endless tenders for a project worth 8 million lei
Residents in two villages in district Straseni risk losing a project worth eight million lei, money that was earmarked for the construction of an aqueduct. The tender for selecting the company in charge with works was already organized four times and each time it was challenged by several companies. They disagree that they were disqualified for presenting lower prices than the project’s value. In turn, members of the procurement group say that the law does not allow tenderers to radically decrease the amounts indicated by the designers. The process can be delayed because the appeals are examined in the
Schools with debts of millions on the brink of a new school year
On the brink of the new school year, most schools in Criuleni have debts of thousands of dollars and some -even millions; they are at the risk of reaching the court. The debts date back three years ago when the district authorities have approved a project by which schools were forced to replace all doors and windows. The works were made in advance and the debt was supposed to be paid within 3 years. When the term expired, the company claimed the money which was invested, while headmasters said that they did not have money. The money for project funding
Unprofitable business of the capital
Lands and nonresidential spaces owned by Chisinau Citi Hall is a real godsend for different economic units or people close to local public authorities. Some of them rented spaces with a surface of hundreds of square meters at a price of just seven lei per square meter; others privatized entire buildings at the price required for a dorm room. Although the law requires organizing public tenders for leasing and privatization of lands and buildings in the capital, the authorities avoid this procedure. Thus, public property management, especially of non-residential spaces and lands, is the most damaging activity of the
Councilor-landowner and scandal with plots in Colonita
The mandate of councilor made himself landowner in Colonita. Igor Luchian has recently got 3 plots sold based on a decision of the council which he voted. In addition, in that period he was part of the commission for public tenders. Councilors from the opposition request return of the land to the village and accuse Luchian of conflict of interest. Also, the municipality is charged of "selling" the land based on deals, to people who take advantage of changes in the law, whereby the use of agricultural land can be changed by a vote of the local council and
How was the state deprived of 30 million lei
The state paid 10 million lei for tons of equipment that languishes for years in the stock of an economic unit. The equipment was purchased for a treatment plant, which the authorities in Criuleni have been trying to build it for nearly a decade. The fate of the investment is uncertain while a part of the engineering networks installed were damaged. Meanwhile, the district council pays tens of thousands of dollars annually for storing equipment which nobody knows whether it will ever be used. Works performed by halves The project "Evacuation of waste water from town Criuleni to water treatment
Banned sausages still being served to children in schools and kindergartens
Tons of sausages are still being served to children in schools and kindergartens, despite the discontent of some parents as well as an order of the Ministry of Health which has banned the overfat cold cuts since 2012. The ministry has recently issued another order by which it wishes to indefeasibly take the sausages off the menu in schools and kindergartens since 1st of June. As only a few days are left until then, it is not known whether all the kindergartens will manage to remove the sausages from the menu. The authorities are not in a hurry to
Incompetence in public procurement costs us millions
The public money comes to be spent meaninglessly because the persons responsible for procurement don’t have the necessary preparation. The mistakes of the persons responsible for public procurement cost us millions. Due to the fact that the authorities have no capacity to conduct trainings, the specialists state they learn how to carry out a tender on the internet, and also from their own mistakes. For many of them, the development of technical specifications is like a formula from applied physics. The investigation has been conducted as a result of a notification on the Corruption Map. Unaware of what technical specifications look like An error
Road Repair in Chișinău and the Interests of the Mayor Dorin Chirtoacă
The rehabilitation of Stefan cel Mare Boulevard and of Alecsandri and Negruzzi streets in the capital costs us astronomical sums, while the company which executes the works seems to have some relation with Mayor Dorin Chirtoacă. This project aimed at the repair of nearly seven kilometres of road is worth 11.5 million Euros, the money being borrowed. The municipality would have paid a million and a half Euros less, if no infringements were committed at the tender, as confirmed both by the National Integrity Commission, and by a special inquiry commission of Chişinău Municipal Council. The works are being carried
Works Worth Millions Abandoned on the Construction Site at the Presidency Building
The 7th of April 2009 meant scattered hopes and, in the same time, the depletion of the budget by the urge to repair the buildings of the Parliament and of the Presidency destroyed during the violent protests. While the Parliament building was renovated in the meantime, an abandoned construction site lies opposite, at the Presidency building. Under the pressure of the crisis, the renovation works were stopped back in 2011, 106 million lei being spent before that, a sufficient amount for performing half of the works. The authorities have not allocated any funds to preserve the building, therefore at least
Secret Companies and Deals in Rezina
Three companies managed by the same person are the favourites of the authorities of the district of Rezina in terms of public procurements. Every second contract in the field of repairs and constructions was awarded during the period September 2013 - April 2015 to one of the three companies in which Liviu Jitari figures either as a manager, or as a founder: Litarcom, AVI Borș and Capilla. A predilection which arouses suspicion Based on three contracts concluded with Litarcom LLC, the administration of the district of Rezina allocated 2.46 million lei for the renovation of the rooms rented in the premises
Illegal tenders (II)
In a system full of corruption and bribes, in the past two years, only one mayor was caught in the act and then given suspended sentence. He was charged of having frauded a public tender. Though, some tenders seem more than doubtful and the witnesses of some businessmen and mayors reveal a world where the shadow games and the bribes dictate the rules of the game, rules which are accepted by all sides, otherwise, they are excluded from the deal. Continuation No doubt, company Litarcom SRL can be called one of the champions of tenders in the last four years. It won
How the Local Government of Zîrnești Trifles the Public Money Away
The local government of Zîrnești, district of Cahul has compromised a lot of projects with public funds, worth millions of lei. Over one million was thrown away for road renovation, but apart from potholes, nothing can be seen. The House of Culture was renovated, but the roof leaks as before. In the kindergarten, which is equipped with old furniture, everywhere were placed video surveillance cameras, purchased without any tender. To build an agricultural market, the mayoralty hired a relative of the mayor, and dubious schemes were applied during the execution of certain public works. The string of irregularities is
Illegal tenders (I)
In a system full of corruption and bribes, in the past two years, only one mayor was caught in the act and then given suspended sentence. He was charged of having frauded a public tender. Though, some tenders seem more than doubtful and the witnesses of some businessmen and mayors reveal a world where the shadow games and the bribes dictate the rules of the game, rules which are accepted by all sides, otherwise, they are excluded from the deal. In the past years, many Moldovan villages benefited from profitable investment projects. Either it is about the roads reparation, schools
Who dribbles the law in the file of the National Stadium?
The National Stadium situated in the centre of the capital city, where the most important football matches were played in former times, is derelict for almost ten years. In 2006, the Communist governance decided to renovate the sports arena and, without conducting any tender, the company Basconslux was designated to do the demolition, the costs of the works at that stage being estimated at eight million lei. Nevertheless, this company, that was the winner in a number of public tenders, was not paid, although it performed the works. In 2013, after a long correspondence with the authorities, Basconslux started
A former mayor of Peticeni reaped a bakery at the expense of kindergarten children
A group of inhabitants of the village of Peticeni, district of Călăraşi have been struggling for more than a decade for the return of the canteen’s building back to the kindergarten, as, in their opinion, it was illegally alienated. The transaction was done with the consent of the former mayor, and the building became the property of his wife. The case was reported by the villagers on the Corruption Map of Anticoruptie.md website. The kindergarten (left) and the former food unit, today a bakery (right) Photo: CIJM In January 2004, the local council of the village of Peticeni, district of Călăraşi (the
A Dubious Acquisition: How the Town of Cahul Has Got a Defective Snow Removal Machine
The abundant snow fell in the past weeks has disclosed a problematic public procurement made four years ago by the local government of Cahul. Then, the Communist mayor Petru Burlacu concluded, after a public tender, a contract for the purchase of a truck equipped with an anti-skid material spreader with ”Driving LLC”, owned by the daughter of Paul Anton, the leader of the Communist faction in the Town Council of Cahul. The truck, 9 years old, became a pest for sanitation officials. It has never worked properly – it was not in a good technical condition when it was purchased,
The Companies of Oleg Sârbu, Member of Parliament – Favourite Suppliers to State Institutions
Two out of the nine companies owned by the Democrat MP Oleg Sârbu are constant suppliers of food and fuel to three psycho-neurological boarding houses from the northern part of the country, all of which are under the subordination of the Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family. Throughout the period 2013-2015, Valentina Buliga, party colleague of Oleg Sârbu, was at the head of this ministry. The former minister says she has not influenced anyhow the tenders. The fact is that the respective companies, alongside with a third one, specialized in fuel sale, supplied to State institutions goods and
Tenders for the family of the Director of the Public Procurement Agency
The company owned by the Director of the Public Procurement Agency won in the last 2 years tenders’ worth 35 million lei, managed by the state institution. Most of lucrative tenders won by this company have been challenged by competitors, but in most cases, the Agency’s representatives have dismissed the claims of economic units. Business partners and the family of the Head of Public Procurement Agency have been successful at tenders in recent years, winning contracts worth tens of millions of lei. The building where is located Public Procurement Agency. Photo: CIJM Viorel Mosneaga was appointed deputy director at the Public Procurement
A Project for the Dump of Bubuieci Compromised by the Interests
The amount of 4 million lei, allocated 3 years ago by the National Ecological Fund (NEF) to the local government of Bubuieci for the purchase of two mobile stations for construction waste processing, has become a matter of prosecutorial investigation. The General Prosecutor’s Office (GP) has initiated a penal case for embezzlement, by virtue of art. 191 of the Penal Code, and the prosecution is now underway. The GP’s Office informed us about it in the response to an inquiry. In fact, nobody knows who exactly is prosecuted – the former members of NEF Board of Directors who disbursed
Millions of the City Hall “buried” in 41 yards in Chisinau
The arrangement of some yards in Chisinau and creation of some thousands parking spaces, which the mayor Dorin Chirtoaca praised in the summing up for 2015, cost 53,3 million lei, an unjustified sum, say experts. Moreover, the purchasing agreement of these works was concluded with some procedural violations. The agreement signed between the City Hall and the company that performed the works, Lucet-comert is unclear. The document does not stipulate the exact number of yards and parking spaces to be arranged and does not show the addresses where the works are performed. Though this company has not fully completed its
Schools in Taraclia, obliged to allocate one million lei for equipment they don’t need
Taraclia Rayon Council has allocated about one million lei for useless equipment - heat generators for the sports halls of the Rayon gymnasiums and lyceums. At the same time, the school managers say the money had to be spent on works which are more necessary, the councilors state that they have thought about the pupils’ health. The “deal” has been made without resorting to public procurement, being promoted by the former head of Rayon and unanimously voted by the Rayon councilors. The money for the heating sources has been used from the so-called Rayon component for education, a joint school
Vladimir Molojen was acquitted after he enriched his family’s company during his tenure
Vladimir Molojen (69), former Minister of Information Development, concluded public contracts estimated at over two million lei with the company of his family seven years ago. He was acquitted on December 9th, by the Buiucani District Court in the capital, though the anticorruption prosecutor ruled six years in prison. The judgment was delivered by the court president, Dorin Dolghier. The prosecution took a year and a half, and then the trial was in the court for 4 years. Since then, the prosecutor of this case Mihail Ivanov, warned several times that the examination was delayed deliberately. He enriched his family’s
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.