The school buses case under investigation for 3 years

Victoria Dodon
23/10/2015
FOTO: Mihail Şleahtiţchi, inspectând autobuzele // adevarul.md

The case of school buses purchased at a very high price is being investigated for 3 years.  Meanwhile, Valentin Crudu, former Head of Department at the Ministry of Education, accused by the former management of the institution of being involved in rigging tenders and he was dismissed for abuse of power by former Minister Maia Sandu on the day when prosecutors announced the opening of a criminal investigation, was reinstated.

According to CNA, following several investigations, including two economic and financial revisions, they established that during auctions conducted in 2011 for purchasing about 20 school buses in the country, the trade margins applied to purchase a transportation unit was 20%, and in some cases more than 80%.

"To check these data, CNA officers have asked the World Bank (one of the financial institutions) to decide on trade margins applied to purchase buses. Following a meeting with World Bank representatives, they have communicated to CNA officers that the purchase price is optimal and meets the sums stipulated to purchase school buses", said Angela Starinschi, CNA spokeswoman for Anticoruptie.md.

Now, employees of the Centre would propose to prosecutors to requalify the actions of people involved in auctions- abuse of power, negligence.

Angela Starinschi says that currently, no person has procedural status of suspected or accused in the case. "Criminal investigators continue the investigations and by the end of November they will take a decision on other aspects of the case", she explained.

Quality education on unjustified millions

A financial review in 2012 shows that in 2010, when Mihail Sleahtitchi  was Minister of Education, the institution bought over 20 school buses at unjustified prices, under the project Quality Education in the Rural Areas of Moldova.  In all, 109 schools buses were distributed to villages. While the import price of a 27-seater bus was 30-40 thousand US dollars, the Ministry paid 70-80 thousand dollars for one bus.

General Prosecutor's Office opened a criminal case for abuse of power and targeted many officials in the ministry who participated in organizing the tenders for purchasing school buses. Prosecution has established that the buses were bought at a double price and a single operator was favored in the auctions.

Shortly, Valentin Crudu, former head of General Directorate of preschool, primary and secondary education from the Ministry was dismissed for abuse of power.

In December 2014, Crudu was re-instated following a decision of the judges of the Court of Appeal and in March 2015 he returned to office. "Today we have a new / old employee at the ministry - Valentin Crudu. "Thank you" goddess Themis that he was reinstated. "Thank you” former colleagues, Sleahtitchi and Poting as they declared at the court that Crudu was an exemplary employee. "Thank you" to the General Prosecutor’s office  that  dismissed the case  where Crudu was accused of authorizing payments (for 1.5 years) from a project with international support to a person who has not worked a single day in that project. "Thanks” to the General Prosecutor’s Office for delaying the case on school buses.  "Thanks” to the Ministry of Labor for not having had the courage to initiate a new Labor Code which prevents abuses", wrote former Minister Maia Sandu on the social networking service Facebook. Previously, she repeatedly warned about the delay in the investigation.

Victoria Dodon
23/10/2015

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