Rewarded Loyalty: The most scandalous appointments and promotions in 2018

Mariana Colun
Colaj CIJM

The year 2018 was marked by several controversial appointments and promotions in senior positions in major state institutions. Some of them raised questions about the criteria for promotion. Experts qualified these appointments as political decisions, and explained that the government had only rotated people from one job to another. Reporters of revealed these realities and show you the most controversial and scandalous appointments and promotions in 2018.

Vladimir Maiduc

Vladimir Maiduc

On February 21, Vladimir Maiduc, a former employee of the Interior Ministry and the most generous sponsor of the Democratic Party in 2016, was appointed head of the Administrative Department of Chisinau City Hall, after the job was vacant.

Maiduc has been  head of the Internal Protection and Anti-corruption Service of the Ministry of the Interior Ministry (SPIA) between December 2012-February 2014.

The Center for Investigative Journalism revealed in an investigation that the former official "gave" the Democratic Party half a million lei in 2016 as a donation. Maiduc said then that he was not a party member, but just a sympathizer.

Victoria Iftodi

In mid-March 2018, Victoria Iftodi, the former Minister of Justice during communist ruling, was nominated as the ruling party's candidate for the seat of this state institution after Alexandru Tanase tendered his resignation. In 2017, Victoria Iftodi was appointed by the Government, judge at the Constitutional Court for a six-year term, succeeding Alexandru Tanase at this position. In March 2017, when the Executive took the decision to promote her to the post of judge at the Constitutional Court, the former Justice Minister was not present at the meeting, not even when she enrolled in the competition, being represented by another person based on a proxy.

Vasile Botnari

Vasile Botnari

At the beginning of May, the candidacy of Democrat MP Vasile Botnari, former minister in the Streleţ and Gaburici governments, former director of the Moldova-Gaz Joint Stock Company, was proposed by the Legal Commission, Appointments and Immunities to Parliament's Plenary for appointment as Director of the Service Information and Security, for a five-year term. The day after his nomination was proposed, Botnari was named as SIS director with the vote of 53 MPs.

Between 2010 and 2013 he was a deputy on the lists of the Democratic Party, in 2013-2015 - Minister of Transport and Road Infrastructure, and in 2016-2017 - Minister of Information and Communication Technology.

Starting with February 2017, Vasile Botnari was chairman of the Board of Directors of SA Moldovagaz. The official was elected to the new position by the unanimous vote of the company's shareholders at a meeting of the Council of Observers.

An investigation carried out by the Center for Investigative Journalism reveals that Vasile Botnari does not have any experience in IT. His entire activity was focused on transport. Thus, in 2000 he was, general director of Chisinau Airport Service Company,  of Air Moldova Airline Company and of  Transport Agency of the Republic of Moldova.

Between 2003- 2005, he was the representative of the Italian airline company Club Air in Moldova, after which he worked as a manager at Nobil Air, controlled by Vlad Plahotniuc. During 2009-2011, he was also a member of Victoriabank's Management Board, which was also controlled by Vlad Plahotniuc.

Cristina Balan

Cristina Balan

In May last year, Deputy Speaker of the Democratic Party, Cristina Balan, responsible for the foreign relations of the party, was promoted to the position of Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the United States of America.

This was announced not by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, but by PD leader Vlad Plahotniuc. According to him, Cristina Balan's candidacy was accepted by the US authorities and is backed by Moldovan Parliament's Foreign Policy and European Integration Committee.

Cristina Balan has no diplomatic training or experience. She is economist  by profession and graduated from the Free International University of Moldova.

Vladimir Baldovici

In mid-May 2018, former Minister of Constructions and Territorial Development Vladimir Baldovici, in the Government headed by former communist Zinaida Greceanii, was appointed Director of the Public Property Agency. The official was targeted in several investigations carried out  by the Center for Investigative Journalism. He faced conflicts of interest several times, and the companies he managed openly or  from shadows would have benefited from several public tenders or would have obtained  lucrative contracts under non-transparent conditions.

Consfirmgrup SRL, owned by Vladimir Baldovici until 2009, has obtained several  lucrative  contracts for the repairs of Parliament's buildings and the Presidency devastated during the April 2009 protests. The Center for Investigative Journalism wrote that  a huge sum of money was spent for repair works, including the purchase and installation of an electoral voting system in Parliament that did not work. The Legislative refused to give details over the contracts concluded with ConsfirmGrup. The former minister gave up the package only a few days before the tender for the presidential and parliament buildings repair works.

Silvia Radu

Nicolae Ciubuc and Silvia Radu

September was marked by reshuffles. Nicolae Ciubuc, director of the Agency for Payments and Intervention in Agriculture was appointed head of the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Regional Development. The National Integrity Commission initiated in 2014 a check on the possible non-declaration of income and property by Nicolae Ciubuc after the press wrote that he lived in a luxury building and was driving a BMW car, both of which were undeclared.

On the other hand, Silvia Radu, former acting general mayor of Chisinau was named Minister of Health, Labor and Social Protection. From November 2017 to April 2018, Radu served as acting mayor general of Chisinau, being appointed by former interim mayor Nistor Grozavu, who in turn took over the interim from Dorin Chirtoaca following his arrest in the paid parking case.

During the term of office, Silvia Radu was accused of having committed abuses and would have rigged public tenders. Thus, in April, Deputy Chairman of the Liberal Party, Valeriu Munteanu, asked the General Prosecutor's Office to prosecute Silviu Radu for rigging the tender on purchasing flowers amounted at nearly 2 million lei for the flower carpet in front of the Cathedral. In his petition, Munteanu called for Silvia Radu to be held accountable for abuse of office and mismanagement of public money.

In May 2018, during the electoral campaign for local elections, several representatives of civil society accused the Constituency Electoral Council Chisinau and the Central Electoral Commission of violating the provisions of the Law on access to information and violation of the law, admitted by Silvia Radu in the race for mayor of Chisinau City Hall. Over 2,000 falsified signatures, with no identity data, of deceased persons, as well as other errors, were found in the subscription lists of the candidate for mayor of Chisinau City Hall, Silvia Radu.

However, the members of the Constituency Electoral Council Chisinau did not take into account the errors, considering that 11,116 validated signatures are enough for the registration of Radu's candidacy in the electoral race. For Silvia Radu to enter the electoral contest "have signed" five deceased persons, 430 people who do not live in the indicated locality, and 898 did not indicate the data from the ID.

Silvia Radu is known to the public especially for having held the position of president of Gas Natural Fenosa between 2008 and 2015. She raised in just one year revenues of ten million lei.

Octavian Armașu

Octavian Armașu

At the end of November, Minister of Finance, Octavian Armasu, was appointed Governor of the National Bank of Moldova (NBM) with the vote of 54 MPs.

Armasu's candidacy was proposed by Parliament Speaker Andrian Candu and was voted on the same day. The position of Governor of the NBM became vacant after Sergiu Cioclea resigned. The experts have qualified Armaşu's appointment at NBM as a political decision because he has no expertise in the banking field.

Corneliu Gurin, Artur Reșetnicov and Raisa Apolschii, at the Constitutional Court

Corneliu Gurin

In mid-December, without any contest, three people were appointed as Judges of the Constitutional Court (CC). The first is the former general prosecutor, Corneliu Gurin, appointed judge at the CC on behalf of the Superior Council of Magistracy (SCM). The ex-public prosecutor was not active for years in public space, but his last public appearance was memorable.

In December 2016, reporters of wrote that several photos showed him crowned in a sumptuous ball organized by a sports club in Chisinau.

On April 18, 2013, Corneliu Gurin was appointed by the Legislative, Prosecutor General of the Republic of Moldova. In 2015, he requested the arrest of Vladimir Filat after his parliamentary immunity was withdrawn.

Corneliu Gurin started his career of lawyer as a senior consultant in the Legal Department of the Parliamentary Apparatus, a position he served between 1995-2001.

Between 2001 and 2005, Corneliu Gurin served as General Manager of Parliamentary Apparatus, speaker's advisor for legal problems and relations with law-enforcement bodies.

Between 2005 and 2012, she was program coordinator at the ADEPT Public Association. In November 2011, Corneliu Gurin joined the Democratic Action Party, led by Mihai Godea. He quitted the party before being appointed Chairman of the Special Commission for Appointing a  Candidate for the General Prosecutor's Office.

Corneliu Gurin  has been general prosecutor from 18 April 2013 to 26 February 2016. Gurin announced that he quitted the office of  general prosecutor of the General Prosecutor's Office on  the same day that Parliament voted the Prosecution Law in second reading.

Raisa Apolschii

On 12 December 2018, Democratic MP Artur Resetnicov was appointed by the Government as Judge of the Constitutional Court. Artur Resetnicov is one of the richest MPs in the current Parliament.

During his political activity, he was involved in several scandals, mainly in the destruction of the documents of the Security and Intelligence Service about the  7 April 2009 protests.

Artur Resetnicov has always been a close friend of PCRM leader Vladimir Voronin. He graduated from the Faculty of Law of the State University of Moldova, was a professor at this educational institution and lawyer.

During 2001-2007, he served  several important positions in the Apparatus of the President of the Republic of Moldova, being head of the General Division, legal advisor and head of the Law and Public Relations Department.

In November 2007, with the vote of the Communist and Christian Democrat MPs, Artur Resetnicov was appointed Director of the SIS for a period of five years. Like other colleagues, he was in the blacklist of candidates for the seat of MP, compiled by the civic initiative of ICPC.

Two days later, Raisa Apolschii, chairman of the Parliament’s Legal Commission, Appointments and Immunities, a member of the Democratic Party, was appointed judge to the Constitutional Court. The press wrote that Raisa Apolschii would be the wedding god mother of the leader of the Democrats, Vladimir Plahotniuc, but none of them confirmed or denied this.

Raisa Apolschii is a deputy in the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, the 15th in the list of the Democratic Party.  In 2010 she got a seat in the Legislative, being the 12th on the PD list. She graduated from the Faculty of Law of the State University of Moldova. In the 90s she was a magistrate at the Ciocana Court. She has practiced law between 1994 -2003, when she became a parliamentary lawyer, director of the Human Rights Center of Moldova. From 2008 to 2010, she worked at the Bar Association "AVO GRUP".

Viorel Chetraru

Viorel Chetraru

Also at the end of the year, Viorel Chetraru, former head of the National Anticorruption Center, won the contest for the vacancy of a member of the Court of Accounts of Moldova.

Chetraru was one of the two candidates for this position, gaining the highest number of points. Viorel Chetraru served as director of the National Anticorruption Center between 25 October 2012- 15 December 2017.

In 2009-2012, he served as Director of the Center for Combating Economic Crimes and Corruption (CCECC), an institution reorganized in 2012 in the National Anticorruption Center.

Tamara Andrușca

Tamara Andrușca

Former Vice-President of the Court of Accounts, Tamara Andruşca is a close person to PDM leader Vlad Plahotniuc. wrote that she had received a generous donation from the Edelweiss Foundation last year. She was appointed head of the National Health Insurance Company.

Tamara Andruşca, member of the Court of Accounts since 2013, has served the office of Vice-President of the Court of Auditors in the last two years. She resigned on November 30th.  Her resignation was approved by Parliament.

Andruşca benefited in 2017 by a donation of 80,000 lei from the Edelweiss Foundation sponsored by Vladimir Plahotniuc. The official said the amount of money received was used for treatment purposes.

The Center of Investigative Journalism revealed in an investigation Tamara Andruşca's connection with the political world.

Valentina Buliga

Valentina Buliga

The year 2018 ended with appointing the Democratic MP Valentina Buliga as head of the National House of Social Insurance. Pharmacist by profession, Buliga is vice-president of the Democratic Party of Moldova. He became for the first time deputy in 2005. Until then, she served several positions in the medical field.

In September 2009, she was appointed Minister of Labor, Social Protection and Family, an office she served until the 2014 parliamentary elections.

At the local elections in 2011, she ran for Mayor General of Chisinau on behalf of PDM and won only 2.56% of votes in the first round.

After the parliamentary elections in 2014, she acceded in Legislative and was appointed chairwoman of the Parliamentary Committee on Social Protection, Health and Family.

She is known for the fact that during her term as Labor Minister at a meeting with some young mothers who complained that allowances for childcare are not enough to buy diapers, Valentina Buliga replied: "Diapers. .. wash the swaddling clothes! ". As a consequence, the minister was criticized for proposing methods of childcare used in the last century instead of working out policies to increase the allowances for newborns.

Mariana Colun

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