The Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office and the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases Under Control

Viorel Morari, the head of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, and Dorin Compan, the interim head of the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS), were suspended from office in consequence of a special control carried out at the two institutions, initiated at the order of the Prosecutor General Alexandr Stoianoglo. Considering the acts of the Prosecutor General a flagrant violation of the legislation, which could also interfere with the progress in the cases managed by the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, Morari asked the court to suspend the execution of the Prosecutor General regarding the controls, but the court rejected his appeal. 

ZdG takes a closer look at the events happening at the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office where notorious cases are currently in progress. 

After a five-month search for a Prosecutor General, which lead to the collapse of the anti-oligarchic government, the Superior Council of Prosecutors appointed Alexandr Stoianoglo as the new Prosecutor General. 

In less than two weeks since entering the office Stoianoglo initiated questionable verifications at the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office when notorious cases are in progress there. 

According to the General Prosecutor’s Office, the control aims to verify and evaluate the activity of the two specialized units of the Prosecutor’s Office. Subsequently, for a period of one month, Viorel Morari will work within the Office of the Prosecutor General, and Dorin Compan – within the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office.

The head of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office defies the new Prosecutor General

The decision of the new Prosecutor General dissatisfied the head of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, who asked the court to suspend the execution of Stoianoglo’s order regarding delegation and the provision regarding the control of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office activity. 

Morari considers that these administrative acts issued by the Prosecutor General without being motivated constitute a flagrant violation of the principles provided by the Administrative Code, including the principle of efficiency, which states that the administrative procedure is carried out in a simple, adequate way, fast, efficient and appropriate to the purpose. 

However, according to Morari, his delegation is neither efficient nor appropriate for the purpose, because he is to hand over the documents and materials under the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s management, which cannot take place in a day, as well as to move to another place of work, where the efficiency of his activity will be one below the average. 

Morari also argues that the provision to carry out a check of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office activity with the involvement of a control group, consisting of 21 prosecutors, will inevitably block the activity of the specialized prosecutor’s office and will delay the conduct of the criminal prosecution in the criminal cases managed by the institution. 

At the same time, Morari’s letter contains arguments regarding the vulnerability of the prosecutors within the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office in the event of a possible control of the activity, which may influence their irremovability and independence.

On December 10, the Chișinău Court rejected the appeal filed by Viorel Morari as inadmissible.

“I haven’t yet got acquainted with the arguments of the court. I will examine them and decide whether the court decision can be challenged. Currently, I will execute it, because it is enforceable. Challenging the court decision does not suspend enforcement. There is another part of the coin: the contest may not be examined at the Court of Appeal in expedient terms, because my delegation lasts only 30 days, that is, my decision to contest can be futile,” Morari told ZdG after the court rejected his request.

Interim staff at the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, and Dorin Compan, the interim head of the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS)

The Prosecutor General appointed Ion Caracuian as interim head at PCCOCS, in place of Dorin Compan. Ion Caracuian is the chief prosecutor at the Preventing and Combating Torture Section of the Office of the Prosecutor General.

“Mr. Caracuian’s appointment is justified by his experience, as chief prosecutor, in combating torture, which is a determining component of PCCOCS competencies,” Prosecutor’s General spokesman Emil Gaitur told ZdG.

Serghei Gavajuc was appointed interim head of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office in place of Viorel Morari. He previously served as interim deputy to the head prosecutor of the  Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, head of the North Office.

What will happen with the notorious cases opened in recent months?

Ruslan Popov, Prosecutor General’s deputy, told ZdG that within the special control all the cases managed by the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office since 2016 will be verified. 

“The cases are verified. Even the Parliament’s statement on the captured state points out the installed endemic corruption and the unsatisfactory activity of the Prosecutor’s Office, which is not in line with the expectations on the respective segment. 

The press, the public space, talks about a multitude of cases regarding prosecutors interfering with the business sector, the political sector, the involvement of the National Anticorruption Center and the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office in the case of hundreds of mayors joining the ruling Democratic Party. Including the bank fraud case, money laundering, the Platon case, and many other cases. 

In all of them, there are suspicions regarding respect for the right to a fair trial. The Prosecutor General had to confirm or refute all these accusations brought to a specialized prosecutor’s office. This is normally not only for Moldova but for any country,” Ruslan Popov says.

The Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office has recently announced about conducting more investigations in cases of public interest, such as announcing Vladimir Plahotniuc, former leader of the Democratic Party in search, the seizure application in the case for illicit enrichment of judge Ion Druță, the searches at judge Oleg Sternioală’s home, arrest of Nicolae Chitoroagă, former PCCOCS head, the 48 searches at Metalferos, one of the biggest companies managing ferrous metals and other companies, as well as the case of funding the Socialist Party by the Russia.

Viorel Morari assumes that the cases initiated against some dignitaries, the financing of the Socialist Party case, the initiation of another investigation targeting deputies could be the reasons for which he was temporarily suspended from the position of head of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office.

Asked to communicate what will happen to these recently started cases, the deputy of the Prosecutor General said that they will not suffer.

The municipal Prosecutor’s Office escaped the control

Following the order of the Prosecutor General, the verifications were initiated only at the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office and the PCCOCS. The Chișinău Prosecutor’s Office, headed by Ștefan Șaptefrați escaped the control from the Office of the Prosecutor General.  

ZdG asked the Prosecutor General press service why only the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office and PCCOCS were controlled, while the Municipal Prosecutor’s Office. In its response, the Prosecutor General press service told that the order targeted only specialized prosecutor’s offices, respectively, the Municipal Prosecutor’s Office does not fall under the order issued by Alexandr Stoianoglo. 

The Prosecutor General spokesperson also added that the institution doesn’t have sufficient resources for the simultaneous verification of all prosecutor’s offices.

Victor MOŞNEAG, v.mosneag.zdg@gmail.com

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