252 families of prosecutors are, at least officially, to move to a new house in early 2015. But the list with their names is kept in secret by the Prosecutor General. In it are found several chief prosecutors who, when they signed contracts with the building company, already owned apartments or houses worth millions. Among them the former Attorney General, Valeriu Zubco, and all current Deputy of the institution. So far, at least half of the beneficiaries of apartments already sold them, at a much higher price then 340 euros per square meter, as they paid when purchased it.
The idea to build cheap apartments for Prosecutor employees appeared during the time of Valeriu Balaban, Attorney General, 2003-2007. First such project was done on St. Nicolae Sulac in Chisinau. Just that, admits Balaban, now, there live a few prosecutors. “In that block, I know many have sold even the apartments when it was building. Each has capitalized as they could their property rights”, he said. Subsequently, appeared the idea of a larger project, on Melestiu Street, near the park “Valley of Roses”. “The ones who had nowhere to live and those living in small apartments were to get apartments”, says Valeriu Balaban, the initiator of the project who was aiming to succor those prosecutors who can not afford to buy an apartment at market prices. “The idea was launched during the time of Balaban. I took it and supported it. The initial goal was to build housing on the principles of mortgage for prosecutors who have no housing or those who needed to improve their living conditions”, confirms Balaban’s successor at the head Prosecutor General (PG), Valeriu Gurbulea.
340 euro – price for prosecutors
In May 2007, following a decision of the Chisinau Municipal Council, PG has been awarded a plot of land with an area of 0,945 ha, on Street Melestiu, for designing and building a housing complex for employees of the institution. According to information contained in a formal response received by ZdG from PG, on December 22nd, 2009 was constituted a departmental committee, which over six days initiated and conducted a public tender for selection of the general contractor. As a result, on March 19th, 2010, PG signed a contract with Ltd “Basconslux”, contractor undertaking to build and put into exploit the complex in which, by mortgage method, 252 families of prosecutors were to receive housing.
From the same answer we find that the auction winner selection was made after analysis of offers submitted by seven construction companies, according to several criteria: the best price, terms of payment, the largest area, the most successful project or the shortest period of time for construction. Thus, “the final price negotiated with the contractor for a square meter of housing for prosecutor employees is 340 euros”, is stated in the response to ZdG. Although we tried to also get the official list of state officials receiving apartments, we were treated with refusal. “Mortgage Contracts were signed personally by the beneficiaries, and information on last, owned and operated by PG, contain personal data of residence, family situation and can not be shown, because their disclosure could harm rights and interests of people”, says the response signed by Andrei Pascari, prosecutor for special assignments in the PG.
Pascari was one of the Commission members who reviewed and, subsequently, assigned apartments to prosecutors. Asked by ZdG on the phone to tell what kind of personal data would represent the name and surname of a prosecutor, paid from public money, he told us that “lists contain personal data on the number of children, year of birth, length of employment, address of residence, premises entered in Cadastre in his name … I am explaining you once again. I can not. I will not make the list again, without this information. If you want, go to CNI, ask for the income and property declarations, go to Cadastre and ask. I believe that these are personal data. The person is identified… address, place of residence, how many properties owns … “. I replied to the prosecutor that, actually, prosecutors from the list should not have owned several buildings, as, the first condition to qualify for apartment price of 340 euro per square meter was to have no place to live. “Yes, people who did not need did not enter in the list. We have had scandals, discontents. Some were in trial”, replied the prosecutor for special missions.
The secrecy of the PG has, apparently, other explanations. After the negative response received from PG, ZdG sought to obtain through informal ways the list of privileged prosecutors. Some, who had access to it, told us that they can not give it as “fear”, others, do not want to get under the eye of colleagues and, especially of heads. Owners of apartments from Melestiu Street claim that even they have not seen an official list, perhaps, to avoid the situation where would be found out the names of all owners of apartments for a privileged price. However, some officials have written the apartments in declarations of income and property.
Millionaires with apartments at half price
After studying most of the income and property declarations of prosecutors, we found that the privileges were granted to prosecutors who have luxury homes and cars, and also other apartments. Thus, one of the owners of apartments on St. Melestiu is Ruslan Popov, current member of the Superior Council of Prosecutors (CSP) and, also, chief of the criminal control and methodological assistance in the PG, about whom ZdG wrote that holds in Milestii Mici, 13 km from Chisinau, a luxury two-storey house with attic. Coincidentally or not, he did not show in the income and property declaration the house, only the apartment in construction. For this, he was investigated, but, shortly, the case was closed. According to the statement on income and property, also Vladimir Lupu, deputy prosecutor of Chisinau, about whom the press recently wrote that lives in a luxury building, unreported (!), right next to the President of CNI, Anatoly Donciu, has (or had ) an apartment at a privileged price on Melestiu Street. His family also drive, by mandate, two luxury cars: a Toyota and a Lexus. And Elena Neaga, Buiucani ex-deputy prosecutor, who has flaunted her luxury house on a social network, got a half-price apartment in the same blocks.
From a half-price apartment also benefited Iurie Garaba, former President of CSP, the current Deputy Attorney General, that although, according to income and property declaration for 2012, Garaba has other three (!) apartments, obtained in 1996, 2003 and 2006. And Igor Serbinov, another deputy attorney general, got on Melestiu Street an apartment worth 46 810 euros, although in the income and property declaration shows that owns a house and another apartment. Apartment at bargain price also has Valeriu Diaconu, now lawyer, former chief of the General Prosecutor Office, dismissed in 2012 for no-show at work. Diaconu got the place while in the income and property declaration indicated that owns two houses. In fact, some prosecutors have indicated in the same statements that, immediately after obtaining privileged priced apartments, became owners of other suites too. Meanwhile, in discussions with ZdG, some prosecutors, with much modest functions, who do not have apartments on Melestiu Street, complained that they could not get the place because they had another apartment.
Zubco and Pantea among beneficiaries
In addition to those listed above, ZdG found out that of privileged apartments also benefited Valeriu Zubco, former Attorney General, about whom we wrote, in 2011, that owns a luxury home in Chisinau, Andrei Pantea, Deputy Attorney General, holding, according to income and property declaration for 2012, three apartments and three cars, including a BMW X5, and several members of the Commission who have completed the list of beneficiaries. The same sources claim that some prosecutors have purchased at least two apartments, most of them have sold them before completion. A prosecutor who received an apartment at a privileged price acknowledged that changed it, in another area, in a building of Basconslux, but already finished. The same prosecutor says that at least half of the beneficiaries did the same. Some have sold because they did not need the apartment, for money, others, in order to buy another, elsewhere, not willing to wait 3-4 years until the commissioning of the complex.
“I’ve also heard that in lists got people who have two or three houses. That’s what I understood from conversations with former colleagues. We found that the in lists are people who do not deserve to be. But, initially, in the list were just people who had no place to live or had small apartments. Back then, in the list were a hundred or so people. Now there are 252? The more people were on the list, the lower was the price, reduction being made on account of land. I know that those who came after me to PG management changed several times the entrepreneur and lists of beneficiaries”, said Valeriu Gurbulea.
I also talked to Victor Ababii, head of Homeland Security in the PG, also him, the President of the Commission that selected apartment owners at half price. He admitted that of these homes have benefited, including ex-Attorney General, Valeriu Zubco, and his first deputy, Andrei Pantea. “The project was for all prosecutors in need. What’s the problem? For instance, Mr. Pantea had an apartment, I think, with two rooms. He has about two kids. It’s clear that he will be improving his living conditions. That’s why he was accepted. But Mr. Zubco did not submit documents showing that he has a house. As far as I know, the house to which you refer was not written on him. It was on another person. I do not remember too much. Some, probably, did not have their houses commissioned and it was not written on them. The plot of land on which the house of Neaga Elena is built was on her son. Commission was led by documents”, explained Ababii, adding that then, in the presented papers by desirous to the committee, it appeared that they did not have other properties. “Each with his propriety”, he says.
“Many did not even have the money then. Yes, about half of prosecutors have already sold the apartments. It’s their problem. Maybe they want something else. We can not limit their rights. Some of those who bought could not pay for it and sold it. It’s their right”, reveals Ababii. Note that, on Basconslux’s site, apartments in prosecutors blocks are sold with 750 euros per square meter, double the price they were sold to law enforcement. Also there is announced that the entire complex to be commissioning in March-May 2015.
Mention that, from such a project will also beneficiate judges. The company that elevates homes for them is also Basconslux. For magistrates families, the price of a square meter of living space is 350 euros. And employees of the health system, particularly those from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy are benefiting from such a project. Except for them, the cost per square meter was 450 euros, 100 euros more than for the judges and prosecutors. The average price of a square meter of living space, in a new building, in white version, is 600-650 euros.
Victor MOSNEAG, firstname.lastname@example.org