Moldova: a Country Trapped in Oligarchs’ Black Plastic Bags

Moldova: a Country Trapped in Oligarchs’ Black Plastic Bags
25 May 2020 | 10:27

-Again you come up with these plastic bags.
-I don’t know how much Costea gave me.
-Give it back to Costea and he will give it to Cornel tomorrow. I have my flight tomorrow at 5 a.m. and he has to give the salary on Monday. They will clarify everything between them.

In the video, Moldova’s President Igor Dodon speaks with Vladimir Plahotniuc, whose position at the time the video was filmed, we do not know. However, we know he was a deputy. He held the position of President of Parliament for a while and led a party that was in power and made decisions about public money.

“Costea” could be the ex-deputy Constantin Botnari, and “Cornel” could be the deputy Corneliu Furculiță. We cannot affirm this with certainty. Competent institutions need to carry an investigation and come up with a clear verdict, strong enough to blow up the entire political class.

The dialogue was filmed earlier, but it was broadcast on May 18, 2020. Following the broadcast, the Moldovan political class didn’t express too many opinions. Maybe because we don’t have a strong political class or maybe the issue wasn’t so serious. The press wrote about it. People wondered, but the three public officials with the plastic bag, Dodon, Plahotniuc, and Serghei Iaralov, ignored or pretended to ignore the event.

On May 18, Dodon met with the Prime Minister and the President of Parliament, and then he had a virtual talk with the president of Azerbaijan, another obscure state.

There is no slightest allusion to the video with the plastic bag on the official page of the Presidency, nor any attempt to explain it. Do law enforcement bodies exist? What about the anti-corruption institutions, paid from public money to prosecute acts of corruption and sound the alarm, to investigate and demand justice?

On May 20, prosecutors asked the court for 35 years in prison for the former president of South Korea, Park Geun-Hye. She was investigated for bribery, and now, in addition to 35 years in prison, they require confiscation of assets.

We have plenty of institutions in Chișinău that should sound the alarm in case of suspicion of high-level corruption. However, the Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office did nothing just like the Ministry of Justice. The National Anti-corruption Center dealt with two police officers who were reported by a driver. Nevertheless, this is very little.

The public authorities, who receive public money to eliminate corruption among public officials also paid with public money, did nothing to elucidate the problem of  Dodon and Plahotniuc’s common plastic bag. 

Some compromised political leaders made an effort to get public attention. Renato Usatîi, who bribed doctors from Romania the other day, was the first to protest in front of the Presidency. Next followed the exponents of Shor, the convicted party leader who escaped punishment.

The scene in the video is strongly reminiscent of the ’90s, when underworld groups decided the state of democracy, sharing areas of influence, including political and administrative institutions. Apparently nothing changed since then if both the Presidency and the bodies responsible for combating corruption ignore their duty enshrined in law. 

What was there in the black plastic bag, after all? Maybe we will get more clues after Plahotniuc releases the next excerpt. Now the most plausible version is that there was money in it, and the dialogue is eloquent enough. However, I have a sad feeling that Moldova is in that black bag, long suffocated in black polyethylene, with anti-corruption and pro-transparency institutions crushed from the cradle, with stifled democracy and development. If our people thought freely, they would break the silence.

AUTHOR MAIL

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