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An outline of the ‘Open Dialog’ scandal. PAS and DTPP in the gunsight of the Moldovan Parliament

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Yesterday, November 12th the second meeting of the parliamentary commission on the investigation concerning the Open Dialog Foundation took place. Initially, the representative of PAS (Party of Action and Solidarity) declared in a press release that Maia Sandu will go in the Parliament hearing in order to “make things clear and to end the lies spread in the so-called enquiry regarding the PAS funding sources.”

Maia Sandu and Andrei Nastase, the leaders of the electoral bloc “ACUM”, were waiting at the parliament entrance ready to enter along with the journalists, when they were announced that the commission would meet in a closed session and they are invited to the hearing one by one. Sandu and Nastase refused to participate, declaring it a farce. “There are no reasons for having the meeting in a closed session. We are not government workers. We don’t have any obligations to keep state secrets and they can’t discuss them with us”, mentioned Sandu. They organised a press conference right at the entrance of the Parliament. “There are two main goals of these closed meetings: first, discrediting PAS and DTPP (Dignity and Truth Platform Party), and the second, trying to remove our parties from the electoral campaign”, mentions Sandu during the press conference.

As official sources state, the main objective of the enquiry commission was to collect and analyse information, as well as to formulate recommendations, without any legal competences. Still, the president of the parliamentary commission – Igor Vremea, declared after the second hearing, that the leaders of PAS and DTPP were “obliged” by law to come at the second session, as the main scope was to hear their opinion on the information provided for the commission.

Background information

On October 4th, the Moldovan Parliament formed, at the initiative of DPM, an enquiry commission for elucidating the allegations of the Open Dialog Foundation and its founder’s – Ludmila Kozlowska, interference in the domestic affairs of the Republic of Moldova, as well as funding PAS and DTPP political parties.

The first official hearing was organised on November 2nd. It also was a meeting in closed session. From the very beginning, Maia Sandu asked to be summoned to a public hearing and refused to make statements to the committee in a closed session. According to the PAS leader, the closed sessions are “neither for revealing the truth by the Parliament, nor to inform people about what happened”. In response to that, Andrian Candu, the speaker of the Moldovan Parliament, declared that the Sandu’s request is an attempt to block the hearings, as she is aware that the analysed information is confidential.

Regarding the allegations that were made, Maia Sandu claimed that the only thing that was funded by the Open Dialog Foundation was a visit for an event in Brussels, having the European Parliament and the Open Dialog Foundation as the event’s organizers. Other than that, PAS never received any financial support from the Open Dialog Foundation.

Moreover, Ludmila Kozlovska denied in an interview for Jurnal TV that the Open Dialog Foundation has ever financed the opposition parties of Republic of Moldova. “It is a complete fabrication” she declared, “and it’s absurd that they consider me and my organisation a threat for Republic of Moldova”. She sees the act of organising a parliamentary commission as a desperate measure taken by DPM (Democratic Party of Moldova).

Open Dialog Foundation

The Open Dialog Foundation is involved at the moment in dealing with several cases of political prisoners from Russia, Republic of Moldova and Kazakhstan. After an analysis of the situation in Republic of Moldova, reports were sent to European Union institutions, and efforts were made on behalf of this institution for freezing the financial support from EU to Moldova. “In turn, Vladimir Plahotniuc started to denigrate the Open Dialog Foundation, this is how people had the opportunity to hear more often about it”, states Kozlovska.

What’s also important to be mentioned is that, according to the Newsmaker fact-check, the press release of the Parliament of Republic of Moldova contains several fake or misinterpreted information about Ludmila Kozlovska. For example, the press release text states that she was expatriated from Poland for being suspected of cooperation with Russian special forces. In reality, her entering in Belgium was banned on August 13, 2018 because Poland included her in the SIS (Schengen Information System) blacklist without stating any reason for that. About the so-called cooperation with the Russian special forces, wrote Marcin Rey, a polish blogger, and his article was mentioned as an “expert” source in the Moldovan Parliament press release.  Another fake information that was included in the press release and in the media, is that the Ukrainian Security Service blamed Ludmila Kozlovska in “betrayal of her homeland”, while she only appears as a witness in a court case.

Featured image source: zdg.md

Important

This is Igor Dodon’s reply after Constitutional Court’s decision that the president can not submit a candidate for the post of PM

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President Igor Dodon believes that the election of the Parliament leadership is the only way to overcome the political crisis in the country.

The statement was made for the Russian news agency TASS after the Constitutional Court’s decision that the President of the Republic of Moldova can not submit a candidate to the post of PM in the absence of Parliament’s governing bodies.

“I have mentioned that if until mid-June the governing bodies of the legislature will not be established, I will have to sign the decree of dissolving the Parliament and appointing the date of organizing early parliamentary elections,” warns President Dodon on his Facebook page.

The president stressed that this scenario “is not good” for Moldova, given the risks of stopping investment projects in infrastructure, the emergence of risks in the budgetary system, postponing the creation of the Government and conducting local elections.

We recall that according to the decision of the CC, the impossibility of meeting the Parliament because of the lack of the organ convening it implies the impossibility of the President of the Republic of Moldova to appoint a candidate for the post of PM.

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Economy

Moldova will receive a $70,000,000 loan from the World Bank

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The aim of the money is to increase electricity distribution capacity. According to a communiqué to the international institution mentioned above, the decision to grant the loan was approved yesterday by the World Bank Board of Directors.

A new high-voltage 400 kV line will be built from the WB money between Vulcanesti, in the south of Moldova and Chisinau. Also, the modernization and extension of substations in Chisinau and Vulcanesti are envisaged, as well as strengthening the energy transmission and metering system.

“The project will strengthen the capacity and reliability of local energy distribution in Moldova and will support the future interconnection of Moldova’s electricity system to the European electricity grid through Romania. This will be vital for the diversification of Moldova’s electricity supply, which will allow electricity to be supplied at competitive and transparent prices,” says the communiqué.

Over the last 27 years, the World Bank has granted the Republic of Moldova loans totaling over $1,000,000,000 for about 60 projects.

Currently, the World Bank portfolio includes ten active projects with a total commitment of $391.300,000. The areas of support include regulatory reform and business development, education, eGovernment, healthcare, agriculture, local roads, the environment, and others.

The commitment portfolio of the International Financial Corporation in Moldova includes five projects amounting to $17,000,000 (69% loans and 31% equity). The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency provided $95,000,000. Both institutions are members of the World Bank Group.

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Important

This is how Prime Minister Filip helped the Ribnita Metallurgical Plant escape Ukraine’s sanctions // RISE Moldova

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Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip helped one of the budget-forming enterprises of self-proclaimed Transnistria, MMZ (Ribnita Metallurgical Plant), to come out from under the sanctions of Ukraine.

A copy of the letter came to the disposal of the editorial offices of RISE Moldova and the Radio Svoboda, in which the head of the Moldovan government demanded from the Ukrainian leadership not only the lifting of the embargo but also the termination of the investigation regarding the plant.

Even during the duration of the sanctions, Ukrainian exporters of scrap, with the help of Chisinau intermediaries, managed to bypass the embargo on supplies for MMZ for about a year. Read more on the case here.

Photo: Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip and President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko reached mutual compromise // Photo: press service of the President of Ukraine

Moldova, PM Filip requested the reduction, twice, of export taxes applied to this undertaking, arguing that they would be an administrative barrier.

In addition, he requested the cessation of the anti-dumping investigation against the plant as unfounded and the suspension of the individual licensing regime until the final court decision.

Just 10 days after PM Filip’s letter was sent, the Kiev authorities excluded the Metallurgical Plant from the list of entities subject to sanctions.

Instead, they included a company in Chisinau (Novastal Prim SRL) on the list, which has last year interfered with the import of scrap metal from Ukraine to the Metallurgical Plant, thereby circumventing the sanction regime imposed by Kiev.

Asked if he had signed such a letter, Pavel Filip ran away from the press.

“We’ll talk some other time,” he said briefly.

The Scheme with the Ribnita Metallurgical Plant (MMZ) and Pavel Filip’s blending in with its sanctions shows how well the international oligarchic regional (Gusan-Poroshenko-Plahotniuc) operates across national borders.

Let’s sum it all up:

The case with the MMZ is similar to other past practices of schemes such as controlling Transnistrian electricity exports to Moldova (and dividing the profits between the three oligarchs).

In 2018, Poroshenko puts MMZ under sanctions, clearly only four years away from Euromaidan and a few years of war in eastern Ukraine. His Moldovan partner, oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc, creates a local tick (Novastal Prim SRL) that “legally” takes over the Ukrainian waste metal streams to Transnistria and through which the three oligarchs share the profit.

In the coming March 2019, Poroshenko realizes he could lose the elections and bring the business back to the legal field, which means that he would have to exclude Novastal Prim SRL from the scheme.

Poroshenko has, in fact, come out clean. He was self-indicted by the Moldovan Prime Minister, the one making the request.

President of Ukraine and Prime Minister of Moldova at the opening of a joint checkpoint at the Transnistrian segment of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border // Photo: Press Service of the Government of Moldova

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