Briefness first and foremost – July 10, 2019 IPN digest

More than 38,000 hectares of crop fields were stricken by the natural disasters witnessed so far this year. The most serious damage was caused in Ungheni district, where losses of almost 182 million lei were reported.

Any decree that would concern prosecutor general Eduard Harunjen will be illegal, Democratic MP Vladimir Cebotari stated in a program on Canal 2 TV channel. He referred to an eventual decree to dismiss Harunjen signed by the President following the initiation of the procedure for removing him by Parliament. He noted an eventual presidential decree can be challenged in domestic courts of law and at the Venice Commission, but the European organization can adopt only political, recommendatory decisions and these will not have legal effects.

Galina Bostan, executive director of the Center for the Analysis and Prevention of Corruption, said Article 25 of the Constitution provides that the prosecutor general can be dismissed by a presidential decree at the suggestion of the Superior Council of Prosecutors. According to her, the prosecutor general should be removed according to law. “All the roads go to the SCP that includes the minister of justice through whose agency action can be taken and also three representatives of civil society. In such conditions, arguments should be employed to obtain a decision of the SCP,” stated Galina Bostan.

Three members requested to convene a meeting of the Superior Council of Prosecutors. These are Minister of Justice Olesea Stamate, academician Ion Guceac and professor Dumitru Pulbere. Contacted by IPN for a comment, Ion Guceac said the position of the Superior Council of Prosecutors on the subjects discussed today in society is required. The Council’s secretary has ten days to organize the meeting. Article 25 of the Constitution provides that the prosecutor general can be dismissed by a presidential decree at the suggestion of the Superior Council of Prosecutors.

Ion Dron, who heads the Center for Initiatives and Public Authorities Monitoring, said that if it had been a prosecutor who coped with the events of the past, the debates on the necessity of dismissing Eduard Harunjen would have lasted for three days. The prosecutor general should have left as he didn’t do what he was to for the prosecution service not to reach such a state. “I don’t think this decision is according to the letter of the law, but it is in the spirit of the law,” stated Ion Dron.

The President’s Office will issue the decree to discharge the Prosecutor General by the end of this week as soon as all legal conditions are met, announced the presidential aide Maxim Lebedinschi. “Based on the consultations among the President, the Speaker, the Prime Minister and the parliamentary majority, the Moldovan Parliament yesterday passed a motion finding procedural violations in the process of selecting the Prosecutor General, with the recommendation for the President to decree the termination of the Prosecutor General’s tenure”, Lebedinschi posted to Facebook.

A group of passenger transportation companies claim they are persecuted and threatened with criminal charges by competitors working hand in hand with bribed high-ranking prosecutors and police officers in order to take over their businesses. The companies “Ednateric Trans”, “Transeric Tur”, “Katev Travel & Commercial” and “Skylines Tour” have been operating international passenger routes since 2009. Natalia Begu, the wife of one of the businessmen, said she tried to hold a press conference earlier about how GPO and INI leadership were allegedly protecting trafficking schemes, but “Eduard Harunjen found out and immediately contacted us through third parties, warning us that talking to reporters would make matters worse.” According to Natalia Begu, they were asked to pay a bribe of 250,000 euros to be left alone, and then 250,000 euros more for the charges to be dropped.

The previous Government increased the taxes for people with low incomes and decreased them for those with large incomes. The current Government is determined to do inversely – to gradually raise the taxes and to make sure that those with large incomes pay these taxes, but will diminish the burden on the people with low incomes. In a news conference held alongside the chief of the IMF mission visiting Chisinau, Maia Sandu said the current Government, including through the memorandum with the IMF, is committed to struggle against all those who should have paid taxes, but didn’t do it. . “These, earning millions, hundreds of millions and billions, avoided the state budget. Therefore, we do not have enough money to pay decent pensions, to pay salaries to doctors and teachers,” stated the Prime Minister.

The International Monetary Fund has no expectations for the electricity rates to rise or decrease; what IMF expects is that the adopted methodology is applied accurately. This was stated by Ruben Atoyan, IMF Mission Chief for Moldova, at a press conference concluding a visit of the Mission to Chisinau. Ruben Atoyan says that the rates should not be politicized, and instead the existing methodology, which is based on the best international practices, should be applied. “We don’t have an opinion about the size of these rates or which way they should be adjusted. It is very important that a methodology exists and it should be applied accordingly,” stated Ruben Atoyan.

A staff-level agreement has been reached with the Moldovan authorities following the fourth and fifth review of the economic program supported by the International Monetary Fund. IMF experts also approved the authorities’ request to extend the program duration until March 2020 to allow for its successful completion. After today's agreement is approved by the IMF leadership and Board of Executive Directors, Moldova will be able to benefit from an installment of about $46.5 million.

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