Briefness first and foremost – July 11, 2019 IPN digest

The companies Gas Natural Fenosa Furnizare Energie Electrică and Furnizare Energie Electrică Nord made a new request to the National Agency for Energy Regulation (NAER), asking to adjust the electricity rates. For domestic end-users connected to low voltage powerlines, Gas Natural Fenosa Furnizare Energie Electrică asks for a rate of 194,40 bani/kWh, as against the rate of 180.25 bani/kWh requested in March. This way, if the NAER approves the rises, these users will pay by 15.40 bani/kWh more than at present.

Eduard Harunjen has tendered his resignation as Prosecutor General, citing health reasons. “Considering the imperative need to ensure the proper functioning of the Prosecution system in the interest of the people of Moldova, the new leadership of the Prosecutor General’s Office must be appointed in the shortest time possible and in strict compliance with the law”, President Igor Dodon posted to Facebook after signing the decree that formally accepted Harunjen’s resignation.

The adviser to the Parliament Speaker Fadei Nagachevski said the procedure for dismissing Eduard Harunjen from the post of prosecutor general that was initiated by the legislative body is not an anti-constitutional step and a dangerous precedent, as they rumor. According to him, this is a systemic formula for removing the prosecutor general. Political commentator Victor Ciobanu said the current situation is shameful for Eduard Harunjen. When the whole society seeks his resignation, he should have the courage to leave.

The former chief prosecutor of Chisinau municipality Ivan Diacov said Eduard Harunjen was named to the post of prospector general legally, but should be now dismissed and can be even brought to justice, but his activity should be first examined. “The Board of the Prosecutor General’s Office should be restored and its new composition should be named by Parliament. A line should be drawn and the PGO should start work. This could be done swiftly, during a week,” Ivan Diacov stated, noting the path followed now by the legislature does not guarantee that a competent person will be appointed as prosecutor general.

The Superior Council of Prosecutors instructed the General Prosecutor’s Office to designate a prosecutor to look into the allegations made by Interior Minister Andrei Năstase that the former Prosecutor General Eduard Harunjen may have been involved in “usurpation of state power”. At the same time, the SCP decided to reject the part of Năstase’s complaint alleging that Harunjen may have also engaged in abuse of office, obstruction of justice, and passive corruption. Also in response to Năstase’s request, the SCP said it didn’t have the authority to formally acknowledge, and hear witnesses with respect to, Parliament’s declaration on the “captured state” and the “usurpation of state power” by PDM and its former leader Vladimir Plahotniuc.

Socialist MP Gaik Vartanean said the main task of the current parliamentary majority is to restore the public perception that if someone breaks the law, they should answer for this. In this connection, MP of the Bloc ACUM Vladimir Bolea said the dismissals at public institutions will continue, will not stop at chiefs and will also cover those who do not obey the law. “The former government should understand that the managers who leave the institutions or the country will not avoid criminal and administrative responsibility. I think the Democratic Party, in its current composition, in general does not have the moral right to take part in elections and to hold state posts in the future,” stated Gaik Vartanean.

Activist Sergiu Ungureanu demands that harassment through unlawful criminal investigation practices – such as wiretapping, house searches and video recording on bogus grounds of people who are critical of the authorities – must stop. The activist told a press conference that he has been himself a victim of such proceedings initiated last August. After sharing a number of posts on Facebook, Ungureanu was accused of instigating unrest at rallies held by the opposition on August 26 and 27, 2018. This happened after outlets affiliated with the then governing party PDM published materials which Ungureanu believes misinterpreted his words. His home was searched and he was placed under a travel ban.

As of the beginning of this year, 2,681,735 people were habitually residing in Moldova, 52.4% of whom were women, according to a census update presented by the National Bureau of Statistics. Valentina Istrati, head of the NBS Census Division, said that the term of “habitual residence” refers to “people who have lived in the country for at least nine months in the reference years.” She added that the review took the data from the last census and adjusted it to the number of births and deaths in recent years, as well as the undeclared international net migration.

There is a strong commitment to investigate the $1bn bank fraud and try to recover the stolen funds, stated Finance Minister Natalia Gavrilița in an interview with RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service. To achieve this, the Moldovan authorities will ask foreign jurisdictions to help with the investigation. “We will look to find cost-effective ways of improving the capacities of the Moldovan law enforcement to succeed in this investigation and bring those involved to account through both criminal and civil action. As you already know, Prime Minister Maia Sandu has announced that an office will be established to coordinate the Government’s efforts of recovering the bank fraud money,” said Natalia Gavrilița.

The board of the National Bank of Moldova on July 10 approved the purchase by Hungary OTP Bank Nyrt. of the controlling interest (more than 50 % of shares) in the commercial bank Mobiasbancă, currently part of Groupe Société Générale. OTP Bank Nyrt. is a universal bank based in Budapest, listed on national and international stock exchanges. It’s a parent bank of a financial group, called the OTP Group, which comprises other banks and financial institutions and has a vast network in Europe.

The Buiucani Court has formally allowed Vlad Filat to turn to the Constitutional Court for clarifications on some constitutional provisions that his defense thinks will help his case. Filat’s lawyer Victor Munteanu told reporters the Constitutional Court will be asked in particular if the same judges who examined the case at the ordinary court can examine the review application.

The commission for conferring the National Award initiated the process of selecting nominees for the award as part of this year’s edition of the contest. Letters of recommendation can be presented until July 17. The files of candidates or groups of candidates who will pass the letters examination stage will be submitted between July 22 and July 26. The scientific works will have to be presented in the original and the candidates or groups of candidates for the National Award must be authors or co-authors of these.

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