One more corruption scandal is unfolding around the Mayor of the capital of Moldova. At this time the matter consist of roads that are to be repaired in three months by a dubious firm that won a dubious tender.
From the very beginning
On December 2, 2011 the Mayor of Chishinau Dorin Chirtoaca without necessary powers signed the contract of a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for the repair of roads. By the way, the contract was adopted by the Municipal Council of Chishinau after the fact, on 25 January 2012. The violations continued: on September 21, 2012, again without the necessary powers, Dorin Chirtoaca signed another contract of a loan from the European Investment Bank for the same object– rehabilitation of roads in the capital. The Municipal Council has expressed its indignation because of the violations and decided to establish a commission to review the case.
But the process has been started and the Mayor organized a tender for the repair of the main road Stefan cel Mare and Negruzzi and Alexandri streets. It turned out to be a perfomance where the main characters are Dorin Chirtoaca himself and an associated with him firm-winner of the tender.
«Win by all means»
Members of the commission investigating the case concluded that the tender was conducted with multiple violations. Inspite of the fact that there was a tender of a large amount for the contract the Mayor formed the tender commission just a few hours before the procedure. All members of the commission were required to sign a declaration of confidentiality and impartiality, but it did not happen.
All the results of the investigation are set out in Annex 1.
In toto 6 companies participated in the competition:
Elecnor Ltd. (Spain) - 16 528 543.49 euros;
Ingstroyengineering Ltd (Bulgaria) - EUR 10 000 688.48;
Tangrad (Romania) - EUR 12 405 542.88;
SK-13 Patstroy (Bulgaria) - 12 405 evro 542.88;
Research Consortio Stabile S.C.A.R.L. (Italy) - 14 950 578.94 euros;
Delta ACM - 93 (Romania) - 11 571 416.11 euros.
Annex 2 presents a protocol of the competition in which is clear that there was a company that offered a smaller amount for the repairs than the company Delta ACM - 93, that eventually won the tender. A contract with Delta ACM was urgently signed. According to the contract the repair works were planned for exactly one year.
There are less than three months to the deadline, but the repairs on Alexandri and Negruzzi streets are too far from epic fail and the works on the central street even didn't start.
Why Delta ACM - 93?
The Romanian company Delta ACM – 93 won the tender. During the investigation it was set that one of the company directors is the brother of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) deputy in Romania Shtefan Pirlipiu. Pirlipiu, in turn, is close to former President Basescu. Within Basescu, whose family is close to Chirtoaca's family Pirlipiu contacted the Mayor of Chishinau and visited Moldova on the eve of the tender.
The personal interest of Dorin Chirtoaca doesn't appear for the first time. The Mayor is assotiated with the firm Edera Trio, that sells hot coffee. It was set recently that the legal address of the company is registered in the name of the nearest relative of Chirtoaca. Moreover, on January 9, 2014 Mayor took a decision by which «in exception» allowed to install two stands of Edera Trio in the park «Valea Morilor». Later the Supreme Court cancelled the decision, but the Mayor was not punished for a conflict of interest.
The company Grancompol, owned by the same family, has often won tenders to provide «air transport services» of 5.6 million lei, while the company's activity is tied with «non-food consumer goods». Another episode: a state enterprise Viorica-Cosmetic buys from Grancompol, where only the director officiay works, containers for cosmetics at 1.02 million lei.
After an unsuccessful attempt with Etera Trio Chirtoaca signed another resolution, also «an exception» for installation of Unicafe stands. These and many other companies are in some way assotiated with Dorin Chirtoaca and won a variety of tenders.
Delta ACM – 93, in its turn, is a contraversal company, because it developed in a very small time and figured in a criminal case because of a bad quality of works in Romania.
Earlier the company acted in Moldova and was responsible for the renovation of the Alecu Russo street, signing a contract for 80 million lei. Then the work was completed with a delay of one year, and the quality became a subject of a letter of the State Inspectorate for Construction to the Chisinau Mayor's Office. The technology specified in the contract was violated.
An attempt to appeal the decision
The Bulgarian company, Ingstroyengineering Ltd, which offered a smaller prices for the repair services appealed to the Public Procurement Agency in order to cancel the tender results (see Annex 3).
The Mayor's Office answered that the company does not have the neccessar experience in such works. The Bulgarian company denies this and cites the evidence that has an extensive experience, that exceeds the required one for the tender.
Representatives of the Mayor's Office behaved irresponsible: didn't come to the court or forgot the neccessar documents and so on and to the end the Bulgarian company picked up the statement saying: «There is no sense to fight for investments in Moldova. We leave and never come back».
That's not the end of the story
The commission that investigated the case also demanded to cancel the results of the competition because of violations in the terms of reference and other documents. The requirement to organize a new tender wasn't fulfilled. Then the commission presented the report to the General Prosecutor's Office. There said that they wouldn't start a criminal case due to lack of evidence.
However, the case developed. Thus, the National Centre for Integrity found out that there was a conflict of interest in the tender, because the commision of the tender couldn't skip the moment that previous works of Delta company were very bad.
The municipal councilor Victor Gureu, which initiated the main investigations due the case said that the report waits a moment to explode, because now the Mayor's Office has a political support and that's why allows corruption.
Civil Society representatives also asked the Mayor to clarify for what purposes public money has been spent and suggested that considerable sums were withdrawn from public funds.
The Delta ACM - 93 says that their part in the tender was correct.
Dorin Chirtoaca himself argues that due the legitimate evidence of his guilt wasn't found in court he won't comment it.
Abovementioned repair works are part of a large project «Chisinau – project of urban works», that amounts 22 million euro. These money is for the repair of 6 main and secondary roads of 14,3 km in the capital.