Curiosity is a fundamental feature of the human being. It helped us to evolve, the historians say. However, people like not only to discover new continents, but also to know how many sheep did his/her neighbor have or who did the neighbor love; how much the mayor earns or who owns the store in the courtyard. We can learn what is what from the so-called classic sources, such as the press or the village hearsay. In some cases, however, we can satisfy our curiosity sitting in front of the computer. The only thing we need is #opendata.
In our case, as a rule, the open data (databases) are used by journalists or by those in the judiciary. However, that is why these are open, because they are within everyone's reach. All citizens, within the boundaries of the law, have the right to seek, receive and make public the official information.
Hence, let us imagine that we care who owns a store in the vicinity. It will take five minutes. Here is how:
We find out the company
We will take as an example the Bonus supermarket, recently opened on Independentii Street in Balti.
You start by going to the spot. Typically, the name of the company to which the shop belongs is written on the entrance door. If not, then you can buy something, taking a receipt. On top of it, the company's name and its fiscal code shall be written. With this data, you go back to your computer.
Go to the official website of State Registration Chamber, i.e. the database containing all companies in the Republic of Moldova. Following the instructions in the images, enter the tax code in the IDNO/tax code search box.
If you have done everything right, you should see the following result:
Now, we know that the store (but not the building) belongs to Imensitate SRL, managed by Dmitrii Razloga and founded by another company Tarol-DD SRL. As a side point, there are unofficial websites, where we can find out quicker who owns and manages these companies: bizzer.md and idno.md.
After that, we repeat the procedure, but this time, we introduce the company that owns Imesitate SRL, and we find out who is behind it. We get the following result:
Therefore, Tarol-DD SRL is owned and managed by Oleg Razloga.
In addition to that, we can also search for names on Google and/or other search engines.
Contracts with the state and court proceedings
If we want to find out more, we can check whether the companies in question had contracts with the state. For this purpose, we go to the website Public Procurement Agency. Then, following the example from the images, we enter the company names in the Economic Operator/Business box.
Hence, we find out that, in 2012 and 2016, Tarol-DD SRL delivered detergents, toilet sanitary products and household goods to the state institutions, in the total amount of over MDL 250 thousand.
Now, however, we want to find out if these companies have been involved in any litigation. Hence, we access the portal national courts.
We can check all the courts in the country, but let us admit that we are interested only if the company has litigations at the courts in Chisinau. We select the option. After that, from the left-hand menu, we choose the Court's judgments.
After the page opens, enter the company name in the Case file Name compartment and click Apply. In this way, this will show us the list of completed litigations in which the company was involved and summary information about them, and on the right-side - a PDF document with the court's decision.
For example, we select the court proceeding on Licensing Chamber against Tarol-DD SRL of February 2015. We open the court's decision, from which we find out that the company’s license for the “import and trading of plant protection products and fertilizers” was revoked, exactly the kind of products sold to the state.
By the same scenario, we can also search the names of the administrators or founders or any other companies or people who are of interest to us.
Good luck in your searches!
This investigative article was developed with the support of the Project “Strengthening civil society capacities in the field of open data use", implemented by the United Nations Development Program and financed by the SlovakAid Transition Knowledge and Experience Transfer Program of the Slovak Republic. All opinions belong to the authors/author and do not reflect the official position of UNDP Moldova, the Government of the Republic of Moldova, the Government of the Slovak Republic or their affiliates.