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Parliament asks prosecutors to indict Moldova’s ex-PM, central bank governor, and 2 ex-ministers for negligence over 2014 frauds

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The Parliamentary committee on the investigation of the circumstances around the devaluation of the baking system requested the Moldovan prosecutors to initiate penal cases against the former PM Iurie Leancă, central bank ex-governor Dorin Drăguțanu, former Parliament speaker and economy minister Andrian Candu, as well as the ex-minister of finances, Anatol Arapu.

The committee found that the above-mentioned officials can be charged with negligence at work (329th article of the Penal Code).

Acording to committee head Alexandru Slusari, the three banks involved in the 2014 frauds did not have any special state management and siffoned millions out of Moldova’s banking system, even after the Government covered the 9,5 billion lei of emergency loans given by the National Bank to these banks.

“Thus, the leadership of the Government and the National Bank acted during that period with negligence, to say the least, without imposing state control over BEM, Unibank and Banca Sociala immediately after the issuance of the state warranties. We would like to remind that the warranties were eventually transformed into state debt with a 5% interest rate on the shoulder of citizens”, Slusari declared.

Concidence or not, former PM Iurie Leancă was stopped on 1 August by the border police from crossing Moldova’s borders after attempting to physically transfer 50 thousand euros to Romania. Leancă claims that the money is mentioned in his property declaration.

Important

The desperate call of Moldovan doctors and the reasons why medical system can’t resist too long

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The first medical employee from the Republic of Moldova, Ecaterina Litvinschi – a 79-year-old woman who died because of coronavirus – was buried these days. The woman worked as a medical emergency doctor at at a National Center for Emergency Medicine for about 35 years. According to her relatives’ declarations, she was buried on the edge of a Chisinau cemetery, in a special area where those contaminated with coronavirus were expected to be buried:

sector 277, tomb no. 1

“Historically, those who end their days by suicide were buried on the far side or outside the cemetery. Is that an “honour” attached to a hero doctor?” wondered a relative of the deceased doctor.

Also, the relatives of the medical emergency doctor mentioned that the hospital administration, where the victim was previously hospitalised, insisted to not disclose the fact that Ecaterina was infected being on call to an already infected person, without special equipment and without being warned by the emergency service 112.

Not enough protective measures for medical staff

Out of the currently confirmed 298 cases of infections with COVID-19, 60 are medical workers, according to the information provided by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection. Moreover, until two days ago, authorities refused to present information on cases of COVID-19 infection among medical workers, giving assurances that doctors have protective equipment and urging journalists not to seek sensations.

The National Ombudsman Mihail Cotorobai made a request addressed to Prime Minister Ion Chicu, in which he informed about the intention of a high number of doctors to submit letter of resignation due to the lack of the protective equipment, which would provide safe working conditions to the medical personnel.

Mihail Cotorobai asked to urgently identify additional funds to ensure protective measures against COVID-19 contagion, both at the level of hospital medical institutions and at the level of primary health care centres. “The recommended measures are imperative both to ensure the patients’ right to high-quality medical services, as well as to ensure safety of the employees of the health system who are put at major risk of contagion due to non-working conditions,” the Ombudsman said.

Currently, six medical institutions in the country are being involved in the treatment of coronavirus patients. Next week other district and municipal medical institutions will be delegated to hospitalise infected patients. The authorities announced that a triage centre is prepared to be organised at the Moldexpo Exhibition Center. By Wednesday, it will be fully equipped, including with 700 beds.

“The number of confirmed cases is increasing, we reiterate the call to citizens to be very cautious. We are sure that if we follow the rules, we will not allow a jump in coronavirus cases and we will have the capacity to handle the situation. This gloomy scenario can be avoided if we are supportive. It is clear that we will overcome this situation, and the authorities and citizens will make the necessary efforts,” stated the prime minister during a press conference.

The announcement of the prime minister sounded optimistic. More and more desperate calls appear online though, being posted by journalists, politicians, artists, regarding the precarious situation in the medical institutions of the Republic of Moldova. Most of them are made anonymously, as medical workers fear to lose their jobs.

The member of the Parliament Radu Marian posted on social media, on March 28, a message sent to him by a person whose mother works as a nurse at the municipal hospital in Balti (one of the hospitals involved in the treatment of coronavirus patients).

“My mother is scared to go to work. She receives one mask for 24 hours and 2 pairs of gloves without other equipment. They write something else on the paper. It’s like fighting on a battlefield without any weapons. […] I wrote to you as a child who is afraid of losing his mother because of the incompetence of the authorities and because of the situation in the hospitals of Moldova,” is said in the message.

According to the data presented by the authorities, during this weekend, there were reported the most cases of infection per day since the beginning of the epidemic in Moldova.

Not enough resources

Doctor in medical sciences, specialist in Intensive Care, Tihon Moraru called on the authorities to take urgent measures on acquiring the necessary equipment for managing the patients in need for intensive care. He mentioned that in order to be able to provide the necessary treatment to 50-100 critical patients, there is a need of at least 30 to 40 high performance mechanical ventilators, produced in the USA, Germany or Japan.

“I am afraid that we are late by 3-4 weeks, it will be very difficult for the equipment to be brought to the country. This can only be achieved by the authorities of our country and as quickly as possible. […] I believe that the maximum number of hospitalisations for the serious and critical patients will be between the middle of April and the beginning of May, which is why this devices of vital necessity must be brought to the country as urgently as possible. […] They are very necessary for the intensive care units of the country, especially those of the district hospitals of the country, where these devices are outdated,” specified Tihon Moraru.

The Moldovan authorities announced that 200 thousand protective screens and 500 filter masks were purchased in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the purchased protective screens represent only 10% of the announced necessary quantity, while the acquired amount of filter masks cover 25% of the health system current needs, reported ZdG.

Being contacted by ZdG, the manager of the company responsible for acquiring the protective goods said that, at the moment, the company does not have the products in stock, while importing them from China is a complicated procedure that will surely result in delivery delays, given the pandemic conditions.

Not enough tested persons

Another 32 people were lastly confirmed as being infected with the new type of coronavirus, after 246 samples were processed in the laboratory of the National Agency for Public Health, announced the sanatateinfo.md portal. That amounts a total of 5 324 persons who were tested, including family doctors and mayors. Given the exponential growth rate of the contagion demonstrated in other countries, the number of tested persons in the Republic of Moldova can be concluded as being way too low.

Enough Government assurances that “all is kept under control”

For purchasing 200 000 protective screens and 500 000 filter masks, the Government of the Republic of Moldova approved the allocation of 36 million lei from the reserve fund. “It is a measure to ensure protective equipment for the next period. We have enough equipment, but we are preparing for the second half of April and May,” said Prime Minister Ion Chicu.

At the same time, some district hospitals already have taken decisions of replacing at least a part of their old equipment using their institution budget or by applying to international funds and calling for foreign governments’ donations of protective goods, disinfectants, tests, etc.

Photo: Facebook| Ala Nemerenco

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Media censorship during state of emergency: no personal opinions, no information that is not confirmed by state officials

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In the context of state of emergency declared on the territory of the Republic of Moldova, the president of the Audiovisual Council (AC) of the Republic of Moldova, Dragoș Vicol, issued, on March 24, a provision through which, media outlets from all over the country are obliged to present only the official position of the competent public authorities. Additionally, journalists are not allowed to express their own opinion when reflecting the subjects that concern the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Under the conditions of state of emergency on the territory of Moldova, the official position of the competent public authorities (World Health Organization, the National Extraordinary Public Health Commission, the Government of the Republic of Moldova, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection) will be presented, those being more knowledgeable and more competent institutions regarding this matter,” is mentioned in the provision published on the AC official page.

In its attempt to fight fake news, sensationalism and infodemic situations characterised by overabundance of information that can create confusion, panic and insecurity, the AC risks to violate freedom of speech, opinated Petru Macovei, the executive director of the Independent Press Association (IPA) cited by ZdG.

These provisions are qualified by Macovei as an abuse in the field of audiovisual media services. “These provisions limit the right of journalists to issue value judgements related to the authorities’ efficiency,” stated Petru Macovei.

This is what the AC provides exactly: “During the period of emergency, the presenters / moderators / editors will unilaterally renounce the unannounced statement and favouring of both their own opinion and free formation of arbitrary opinions when reflecting the topics concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.”

At the same time, the regulatory institution affirmed that “the only reliable, truthful, impartial and balanced source of information is that from competent public authorities in the country and abroad.”

During the broadcasts made on the subject COVID-19, the representatives of the authorities should be invited, or at least they should be able to talk over the phone, as well as to present video or audio recordings with the position of a public authority, stated the president of AC for TV8.

In his opinion, everybody should trust the official sources. “Why do you doubt it? Now it is not the proper moment for labelling and considering that someone is hiding the information. I cannot believe that there are tendencies for certain state authorities to hide information,” Dragoș Vicol claimed.

However, experts say it is more about forbidding inconvenient statements and controlling the information flow.

“This decision needs to be reconsidered by the AC because, in its current form, it contains very clear elements of censorship. […] It is important to warn the European Commission about the abuses that occur in the Republic of Moldova under the pretext of state of emergency,” Petru Macovei highlighted.

“Such decisions are counter-productive when referring to the transparency of the authorities and the communication to the public to prevent the spread of the virus and recover the social-economic situation,” mentioned political analyst Dionis Cenușă, arguing that the AC provision still covers important issues related to a correct way of communicating information and dealing with the phenomenon of fake news.

Photo: Wendy Kenigsberg |University Photography

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Crisis measures? Socialists and democrats formed a coalition government

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The Socialist Party of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) and the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM) have signed an agreement agreement today, establishing a coalition government within the newly formed Social-Democratic Platform for Moldova“We are witnessing a historical moment today. After several discussions and negotiations, we found common ground between PSRM and DPM to form a coalition and to create an absolutely necessary majority government,” said the PSRM leader Zinaida Greceanîi during a press release.

See also: A new (old) coalition government? DPM and PSRM have entered into negotiations

Socialists committed to support the Government in creating new jobs, attracting investments, carrying out national programs regarding public roads, street lighting, extension of the natural gas network,  as well as increasing salaries and pensions. Democrats, in response, promised to ensure the implementation of the Association Agreement, maintain territorial integrity, energy security, continue the strategic partnership with the United States and maintain good relations with the neighbouring countries. “I assure you that we will keep our word,” said Pavel Filip, the democrats’ leader.

In less than an hour since the announcement of the creation of the new coalition government, five democrats took the oath, replacing their socialist colleagues previously holding the following offices: Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration, Defence Minister, Minister of Education, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Economy.

Zinaida Greceanii and Pavel Filip said that this coalition would provide stability to the Government in the current complicated epidemiological period. “Starting today, we have a professional, technocratic Government, but with the solid support of 58 members of the Parliament […] I am firmly convinced that this solid majority will create additional premises to overcome this challenge. People are waiting for results from the Government, the Parliament and each minister separately,” said Igor Dodon.

Prime Minister Ion Chicu said that the members of the Government will continue to work as a team. “We have only one party – the citizens’ party of the Republic of Moldova, for which we work. […] We will overcome this crisis, we will come out of it even stronger, and more united as a society, as a Government and a Parliament,” declared Chicu.

Even though the authorities announced Code Red of alert at national level regarding the risk of infection with COVID-19 on Friday, the measure of establishing the state of emergency throughout the country was proposed to the Parliament only today, after the new parliamentary elections were held in one Moldovan district on Sunday and the PSRM-DPM coalition was formed on Monday.

See also: Is COVID-19 taken seriously? Government’s actions and people’s behaviour

Political analyst Ion Tăbîrţă believes that establishing the state of emergency in the country has been deliberately delayed, as ZdG reported. “If the state of emergency had been adopted a few days before, then neither the elections in Hâncești, nor these governmental changes would have been possible. That is why our authorities have acted in such a way,” argued Tăbîrţă.

The analyst claimed that, the coalition has the stake in assuring the socialists that Igor Dodon would get another mandate, and granting the democrats return to the government and power consolidation of the party.

Photo: cotidianul.md

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