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President signs decree to dismiss Agriculture Minister Eduard Grama for corruption charges

On March 20th, Moldova’s President, Igor Dodon, signed the decree on the dismissal of Eduard Grama from the position of Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry. Previously, Prime-Minister submitted a request of dismissal.

In regard to this dismissal, Dodon commented that he is waiting for more dismissals like this, because “there are many corrupt officials in the Government”:

“I will sign the dismissal of every member of Filip Government. Technocrats, professionals must be promoted, not those on political criteria. I am ready to sign every day decrees of dismissal for the officials of this government”, underlined Dodon.

Investigators found proof of Grama’s involvement in a case of corruption regarding the appropriation of 9,9 hectares of a portion of a land. Additional searches at Minister’s office and home were conducted before Grama himself was arrested by the anti-corruption officers.

The searches are part of the case on the attempts to appropriate 30 hectares of land from Stăuceni suburb of Chișinău, land belonging to the Wine-making and Wine-culture College.

According to an investigation conducted by RISE Moldova, the 4,5 million euros land was appropriated by the businessman Tudor Ungureanu by bribing at least two officials from the Agriculture Ministry. In the context of the investigation, Minister Grama declared that he did not know anything about the business, delegating the responsibility to a former Vice-Minister, but still mentioning that he was offered to participate as well.

In November 2016, 12 persons, including officials, businessmen and lawyers, were arrested in regard to the appropriation of the 30 hectares. They were accused of fraud, passive and active corruption, influence traffic and making false documents.

Currently studying International Relations at the University of Pécs, Hungary. Study focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Moldovan statehood, Moldovan democracy. Inquiries at [email protected]

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Economy

“State secret”: Finance Ministry refuses to publish EU letter “appreciating Moldova’s progress” on €100 mln. pact

22 May 2018- Newsmaker.md was refused by the Finance Ministry to obtain a copy of the letter of the European Commission on the fulfillment of the first 10 priority actions, necessary for disbursement of the €100 million fund.

Signed by Finance Minister Octavian Armașu, the refusal letter explains to Newsmaker that the letter contains information that is subject to the “state secret” protection due to the national security risks of publishing it.

In March 2018, Armașu declared that the letter from the DG ECFIN (European Commission) appreciated the efforts of the Moldovan authorities on the fulfillment of the first 10 (28, in total) conditions from the agreement on the 100 million euros macro-financial assistance.

This “appreciating” letter was then requested by the Chișinău-based Center for Policy and Reforms (CPR Moldova), but the request was refused on the claim that NGOs cannot request information from the state institutions. Now, CPR Moldova is suing the Finance Ministry for violating the access to information laws, suggesting that an NGO is nothing but an association of individuals, which should freely access information of public interest. Moreover, CPR is asking the Ministry to present a copy of the report on the implementation of the first 10 conditions for the disbursement of the first tranche of those 100 million euros.


On 23 November 2017, the Republic of Moldova signed the agreement with the European Union regarding the macro-financial assistance of 100 million euros: 40 million of grants and 60 million as a loan. The so-called MFA was requested in August 2015 and in March 2016 by the Moldovan authorities. After long debates on the conditionality, the European Parliament, and the EU Council came to an agreement to offer Moldova the macro-financial assistance for 2 years and a half in three tranches, whose disbursement is conditioned by a certain list of criteria. According to the agreement, the European Commission will monitor the progress on key reforms together with the International Monetary Fund.

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Politics

Dodon flies to St. Petersburg with a luxury plane paid for by a Russian businessman

24 May 2018- The President of Moldova, Igor Dodon, reportedly flew to Sankt-Petersburg with a luxury plan paid for by Russian businessman Andrei Nazarov, reports OMG.md and TV8.

Dodon used a Bombardier Challenger 850 of the Russian “Sirius Aero” (coming from Moscow’s Vnukovo) to fly from Chișinău to St.Petersburg. The plane had to avoid the Ukrainian airspace due to restrictions.

OMG.md estimates that a flight from Moscow with a 24h stop in Chișinău to St.Petersburg would cost around 120 thousand euros.

Dodon’s spokesperson Maxim Lebedinschi told the press that the president flew to St. Petersburg because there were free places on the plane, paid for by the Russian businessman Andrei Nazarov. Dodon is accordingly going to Delovaia Rossia forum, where he is expected to have a discussion with several Russian businessmen.

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Politics

Democrats win mayor seats in 4 villages, “Shor Party” VP Tauber gets mayor seat in Jora de Mijloc

21 May 2018- Besides Chișinău and Bălți, mayoral elections were held in five villages in Moldova.

In Jora de Mijloc, Orhei District, “Shor Party” Vice-President Marina Tauber won 61,07% of the votes. Her opponent, Democrat Lucia Terenti got 38,05%.

Marina Tauber

The small village got more attention not because the Orhei-born Tauber suddenly came to Jora de Mijloc to win the mayor seat, but because of the reported frauds and irregularities on the election day. Quoted by TV8, Promo-LEX found more than 10 violations in Jora de Mijloc: organized transport of voters, the presence of unauthorized persons next to the polling stations, the disconnection of security cameras in the center, taking photos of the voting ballot, etc. There were several reported cases of persons registering and taking photos of voters next to the polling station.

In other villages, Democrat mayors won with an overwhelming majority of votes:

  • Leușeni, Hâncești District- Ion Dragan, 90,79%;
  • Nemțeni, Hâncești District- Maria Ghițu, 82,58%;
  • Volovița, Soroca District- Ghenadie Nitrean, 79,36%;
  • Pârlița, Ungheni District- Stanislav Babuțac, 85,61%.

Source: CEC/TV8

The mandates of these mayors cannot be more than one year, because in 2019 the mayoral elections will have to be held again at the same time with the local council elections.

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