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The World Bank reports: The court infrastructure amendment is inefficient

The judicial reform by reducing the number of courts from 48 to 15 has proven to be inefficient and has led to a crowded infrastructure. So far, no donor has been committed to fund the infrastructure of the courts. Even if the EU has previously had plans to finance the construction of three judges (amounting to ± €15,000,000), the recent developments in Moldova have put the support on hold.

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At the same time, governments in recent years have considerably underestimated the time and costs required to design and build new buildings for judges. The findings are contained in a World Bank report on public spending in the justice sector, writes Anticoruptie.

Courts are crowded and there are no meeting rooms, which raises suspicions about efficiency, transparency, integrity, and accountability. The lack of clear signaling, lifts, canteens, and toilets, as well as access deficiencies, come together with users who are not well-informed and not well-behaved, according to the same document.

The authors of the study state that about $60,000,000 are needed to finance the reorganization of the courts, as originally foreseen.

Annual cost savings are estimated at 45,300,000 lei, and court consolidation is expected to be redeemed within 17 years. According to the report, the estimated amount is given only for new constructions, renovations, extensions, furniture, and equipment. However, it underestimates the real cost of this model of network consolidation by courts. For example, Moldova lacks the energy efficiency standard for its courts and other physical infrastructure in the justice sector, and none of the courts meets the national or international anti-fire standards.

“The estimated cost of 1,500,000,000 lei does not include the cost of ICT upgrading, the purchase of land (if necessary) or the demolition of existing buildings. However, funding is yet to be identified and donors have not yet allocated resources to finance the court infrastructure. Instead of relying on its own limited resources or donors, it would be necessary for the heads of the justice sector to initially reduce the total amount needed, including following the example of the homologous countries,” the report said.

Furthermore, the authors of the study have calculated the time needed to build new buildings for the courts, as well as the necessary costs. They estimated that the total average duration required to complete the design process – based on the experience of EU countries – is about 14-20 months, and design costs are estimated at about $20 dollars x m² or up to 5% of construction costs.

An inquiry by the Journalism Investigation Center in December 2016 shows that tens of millions of lei have been invested in the premises of some judges who will be closed in the coming years under the reform process initiated by the authorities. The data on the website of the Public Procurement Agency shows that the value of the contracts concluded for renovations amounts to more than 55,000,000 lei only in the last years.

In turn, the Ministry of Justice states that in reality, the amount would be lower because not all of the work has been completed.

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The Russian delegation was readmitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

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The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voted in favor of Russia’s return to this court. The decision was taken five years after the Russian delegation was revoked from the composition of the Parliamentary Assembly because of the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

Andrei Nastase, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs, voted for the readmission of the Russian Federation delegation to PACE. Nastase declared that “it was not an easy decision,” but he voted for Russia’s return to PACE in order for this institution to have a positive influence on Russia in human rights and rule of law issues.

Russia has voted 118 votes in favor of Russia’s vote in the Parliamentary Assembly, 62 voted against, and 10 abstained. From the delegation of the Moldovan Parliament to PACE, MPs Andrei Nastase (Dignity and Truth Platform, ‘ACUM’ bloc leader) and Vlad Batrincea (Socialist Party) voted for the return of Russia. However, MP Mihail Popsoi (Action and Solidarity Party) opposed this decision.

In 2014, Russia lost voting rights to PACE after taking over Crimea and supporting military separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia responded in 2016 by boycotting the Assembly and refused in 2017 to pay its annual contribution of 33 million euros, about 7% of the Council’s budget.

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PM Maia Sandu: Duty-free gas stations, shops, bars and restaurants at the entrance of Moldova and Transnistria will be banned

Today, Prime Minister Maia Sandu announced that duty-free gas stations, duty-free shops, bars and restaurants at the entrance to the Republic of Moldova and the Transnistrian region will be banned.

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Maia Sandu mentioned that deputies ought to draft and register as a matter of urgency a bill to this effect. She explained that legal provisions such as those mentioned do not exist in any country in the world and that the national public budget suffers losses of hundreds of millions of lei as a result of the implementation of these laws.

“The duty-free shops beneficiary is a toxic person involved in a dubious business, including theft of the million dollar bill,” said Maia Sandu, making allusions to Ilan Shor.

“The current government not only will not tolerate such initiatives in the future, but also repeal all those adopted by the oligarchic regime that led the Republic of Moldova until June 8,” shows a message from Sandu on Facebook.

Mold-street.com wrote that after the 2019 elections in February 24, and especially after it became clear that the Democratic Party could not form a coalition to be governed, businessman Ilan Shor, leader of the party that bears his name and his family sold most of their businesses in Moldova.

Thus, Dufremol SRL, which until 2018 was the largest duty-free shop operator in Moldova (12 units), became the property and management of Bulgarian Todorov Marko Stefanov.

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Democrats leave government to the new coalition

The decision was taken after today’s National Political Council of the Plahotniuc’s party, announced Vladimir Cebortari, vice-president of the DPM.

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According to Cebotari, DPM’s decision is a clear signal that the Democratic Party no longer holds power in the country.

“However, our decision will not solve the constitutional blockade,” Cebotari said.

“Regardless of what solutions will be found, as long as we have the decisions of the CC in place, the Government that will be installed will operate illegally, and the officials of the institutions will not be legally able to execute the decisions of such a Government and will be in a situation of legal risk. That is why final elections will be reached, as it’s the only way to solve the crisis created by the binomial Socialist Party–’ACUM’ bloc legally and completely,” finalized the DPM vice-president.

Vladimir Cebotari said that the next move on behalf of the DPM should be expected. However, it might be way too early to call it good news just yet.

Two days ago, the leaders of the bloc ‘ACUM’ Maia Sandu and Andrei Nastase asked the Moldovan citizens to come to Parliament for the  “march of the people” on Sunday, June 16th. President Igor Dodon, too, called on the country’s citizens and his supporters to participate in the march, in support of the new government.

Maia Sandu warned that “the Plahotniuc regime will do everything in its power to prevent citizens from coming to the march of the people. They will try to stop public transport, threaten drivers, block the streets.”

“Prepare yourself! Come early, come to your relatives’s place and stay overnight in town. Offer car seats to those who wish, but don’t have the possibility to join. They stop the cars? We walk! They will hear our every step and see that Moldova doesn’t belong to them, but to the people and children of Moldova,” said Maia Sandu at the press conference.

She addressed all police officers who refuse to obey to Plahotniuc’s orders as well as those responsible for national security and citizens to maintain public order and ensure that no citizen of this country would suffer.

Will Plahotniuc’s remaining army find ways to prevent the event from happening? How many of Moldova’s remaining people will attend the rally? That’s for us to find out on the coming Sunday.

Rebranding of DPM’s logo: Constantin Șarcov

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