Voucher privatization is most doubtful business since Moldova gained independence - Vasile Tarlev
A special commission chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister Zinaida Grecianai, who will work out an action plan on investment and fiduciary funds, will be created within the Government. Leaders of the institutions in the field, including Ministry of Economy and Commerce, National Securities Commission (NSC), Anticorruption Centre, General Prosecution Office, Court of Audits, Trade Unions and Patronages, will be part of the commission. As Premier Vasile Tarlev states, the voucher privatization was the most doubtful business since Moldova gained independence. “The whole country and citizens have been misled, the industry destroyed, causing huge moral, material, and political damages”. Premier ordered that NSC in concert with all decision makers finalize the liquidation and reorganization of these companies as soon as possible, while the persons that are accountable for frauds must be held answerable. As NSC vice president Vasile Pentelei states, only 8% of the shareholders of the 6 Investment Funds (IF) “Asito-Invest-Prim”, “Real-Invest”, “Mandatar”, “Dividend”, ”Agrofond”, DAAC Hermes” submitted applications to buy back the shares. Thus, 92% of the shareholders will further remain shareholders in the entities that will be instituted after the funds’ reorganization, planned until July 1, 2007. According to Pentelei, the fact that the shareholders submit fewer applications to buy back the shares can be explained by the large number of holders that went abroad without delegating the consent to sell the assets. Another problem is the liquidation of 26 investment funds, also envisaged to be finalized in 2007. “The financial means that will come as a result of liquidating funds will be shared among the shareholders, while the rest of shares will be redistributed to the joint stock companies”, said Pentelei. Out of the seven fiduciary companies, three are subjected to liquidation, while four of them are still functioning. Two fiduciary companies of those functioning create big problems to NSC, said Pentelei, mentioning that “Europa Trust and Econ-Renastere” are in question, which have over 330,000 shareholders. These companies are now criminally prosecuted for losing the database, and by the end of the lawsuit NSC will decide on their liquidation. At present, until the reorganisation of the investment funds, has been taking place the buyback of the shares from the population. According to the legislation in force, the buyback is performed in cash, with a share not smaller than 50% of their nominal value. Thus, DAAC Hermes has bought back 100%, of the shares, while the other funds – for sums not smaller than 50%. In April 2005, the Parliament amended two legal documents regarding the Investment Funds and to the Securities Market, by which it was decided on reorganization of six IF and correlation of the six fiduciary Companies’ activity to the legislation. According to the amendments, IF were to decide on reorganisation of other kinds of funds or liquidation of the kind of activity as professional participant in Securities Market or to self-liquidate. Investment Funds and Fiduciary Companies (FC) are participants in the capital market. In 1994, 43 IF and 10 FC have been formed as a result of the voucher privatization en masse. They acquired, following the privatization, stocks in over 1800 joint stock companies, and 2.1 mln citizens became shareholders. The IF’s main goal was to invest and reinvest finances in the issuances that were to be performed by the Stock Joint Companies (JSC) in Moldova. FC had the mission to administer first of all the vouchers gathered from the citizens, which later became customers of these structures, following the reinvestment in the JSCs, by means of auctions organized by the privatization Department and holder administrations. In some cases, this administration scheme turned out to be less successful, for the simple reason that the role of FC has limited only to the corporative administration of the assets, and sometimes the FC followed just the private interests of the authorities and did not protect the interests of customers that transmitted the property to the administration. As the experts state, the next step taken to develop the capital market is to work out a law regarding the Investment Funds that would stipulate the creation of IF “using concrete money and not vouchers as in the past”.