It seems that nobody would like to become a village, town or district councilor for an annual compensation of several hundred lei. However, the stake for these positions is different. The opportunity to participate in decision making and to decide on local taxes, to be part of public tender committees and so on is the pulling power for businessmen, pleading for a compensation of a few hundred lei. This can be seen in Ungheni, where about half of the town councilors are directors or employees of companies, public institutions, subscribed to district money.
Company Interests on the List of the Councilors
It is no longer a novelty that most public tenders are won by members of a party or a family. This phenomenon characterizes both central and local public institutions.
The local newspaper unghiul.info wrote that at the local elections, held on 14 June 2015, Ungheni District Council and the Ungheni Town Council could have been called family councils. Thus, if the father were among the potential district councilors, then the son would inevitably be on the list of town councilors, as well as brothers and spouses.
12 of 27 Ungheni town councilors are employees of private companies. Several of these companies won tenders with village halls and public institutions in the district.
The town councilor from the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova, Yaroslav Cojocaru, is deputy director of Magirus LLC, as well as its co-founder together with his father, Dionis Cojocaru. Moreover, Dionis Cojocaru became a district councilor, being proposed by the same party (number 5 on the list), at the same time, he is deputy chairman of Ungheni territorial branch of LDPM. However, in May 2016, Dionis Cojocaru, together with another councilor from the same list, withdrew from the group of LDPM members in Ungheni District Council.
Dionis (father) and Yaroslav (son) Cojocaru / source: http://ana-maria-dionis.blogspot.md/
The company, founded by the Cojocarus, was registered in 2003 in Ungeni, specializing in wholesale of food products, wines and spirits.
In 2011-2015, Magirus won seven contracts for public acquisitions. Six of those contracts, worth over 1.3 million, lei were concluded with Ungheni municipality, one with Corneşti village hall (over 42 thousand lei) and another with that of Zagarancea (over 18 thousand lei). The contract with Cornesti village hall was signed in 2012, when Dumitru Miron, member of the LDPM, was mayor of the village, while the contract with Zagarancea was concluded in 2011, when another representative of LDPM - Mihail Burlacu was mayor. Ungheni municipality, until 2015, was ruled by Ilie Ciocanu, a CPRM representative.
The second businessman on the list of town councilors is Vasile Banzaru, representative of the LDPM and director of BNV LLC, one of the most successful companies in the district. This company was founded in 1992. It had several public acquisition contracts with institutions in the district, worth over 1.3 million lei. Four contracts were concluded with Ungheni IMSP JSC, its former director - Lidia Craciun, and a doctor - Vladimir Popovich, are on the current list of Ungheni town councilors; Lidia Craciun is on the list of LDPM, while Popovich is on that of CPRM. The company concluded other contracts with the village halls, headed by mayors from the LDPM (Boghenii Noi, Sculeni, Corneşti) and from the Communists (Ungheni).
Among the companies with representatives in district councils, most public contracts were won by Javelin NA LLC. This company’s representative in Ungheni Town Council is its director, Ion Tatu - member of the Democratic Party of Moldova. Except a few contracts, most of the procurement agreements, about 160, have been concluded by the Company with institutions from Ungheni, from 2011 up to the present. Their value reached about 33.5 million lei, an impressive amount for a local company. Additionally, Javelin NA was one of the three Moldovan companies, subcontracted by the Habau PPS Pipeline Systems for the construction of Iasi-Ungheni pipeline.
Tatu’s business with the state is not limited to Javelin company, founded in 2000. Thus, in February 2015, the councilor founded a new company - Constriu LLC, which just five months after its foundation, started to win acquisition contracts with public institutions in the district. A year and a few months after its foundation, the company’s revenues from the public contracts exceeded half a million lei. The company won tenders with the village halls of Buciumeni and Untesti, led by mayors members of the Democratic Party, and with Boghenii Noi, its the mayor is a member of the LDPM.
The manager of Chimprodex Commercial Enterprise Ion Scutaru is a town councilor, representing the Liberal Party. The company of this councilor had four public contracts, both with Ungheni municipality (over 200 thousand lei) and two contracts with IMSP SR Ungheni (70 thousand lei).
Another company, subscribed to the district money, is the company of the independent councilor, Eduard Bejenari. Avecom-Net won two public contracts worth over 170 thousand lei.
Other town councilors and businessmen are: Director of Orsus LLC - Ion Scutaru (LDPM), manager of EurdomPlast LLC- Nicolae Tarus (LDPM), head of Utena LLC - Valeriu Bolocan (DPM), director of Asito and director of GT Alexandru Maler (PPEM), lawyer (Anjelica Luchina) and specialist of the Rincor-Prim Natalia Bessmertnaia (SPRM), manager of Total-Info - Victoria Grosu (SPRM), doctor at DentAdmira LLC – Ion Potlog (PCRM). According to tender.gov.md, these companies did not have contracts with state institutions.
As for Rincor- Prim and Total -Info, they belong to the deputy from the SPRM Genadie Mitriuc, he is chairman of the Territorial Organization of Ungheni Socialist Party of Moldova. Mitriuc ran as a candidate for mayor of Ungheni from the SPRM at the local elections in 2015, but lost to Alexandru Ambros, member of LDPM.
The Best Businessmen of 2014 - Town Councilors in 2015
Fifteen years consecutively, Ungheni District Council organizes the contest of the best businessmen of the year, which awards prizes to the best entrepreneurs of the region. Following the district contest Businessman of the Year 2014 organized by Ungheni District Council, several businessmen - councilors were awarded.
In the category Businessman of the Year 2014, commerce and trade, the following businessmen were awarded prizes: director of Javelin LLC Ion Tatu, town councilor on the list of DPM, Director of Magirus LLC Dionis Cojocaru, town councilor on the list of LDPM and director of BNV LLC Vasile Banzaru, town councilor on the list of LDPM. Magirus LLC and BNV LLC were leaders in this category.
Tatu and Banzaru (first place) also received Businessman of the Year 2014 awards in the construction category.
Additionally, several companies, benefiting from public contracts with institutions in the district were awarded within the contest.
Recently, Ungheni District Council awarded the Businessmen of the Year 2015. Dionis Cojocaru and Iurie Tatu are again on the list.
Ungheni Mayor’s Business
The Mayor of Ungheni is also a businessman. Alexandru Ambros obtained in 2015 the third term as mayor of Ungheni, being supported by 47.59% of voters in the runoff. In all three elections in 2007, 2011 and 2015 he ran as a member of LDPM. Also, during all the three mandates, the company, founded by Ambros, benefited from public contracts.
Alexandru Ambros/ Source: ambros-primar.blogspot.com
According to the local newspaper unghiul.info, until 2007 Ambros appeared as the founder of Aledex-Info and now, the company is headed by the mayor's wife - Svetlana Ambros. In 2011-2015, the company belonging to the Ambros concluded six public contracts with institutions from Ungheni, worth about 240 thousand lei.
In 2014, following a journalistic investigation of Moldova Curata (Clean Moldova) "The wife of the mayor of Ungheni, subscribed to mayoralty money", which related about the relationship between the municipality and the company of the mayor, as well as the fact that Aledex-Info was not shown in the income statement of the mayor. That is how Ambros came into the spotlight of NAC. The institution revealed the violation of the legal regime of the conflict of interest in the case of Ambros, by not declaring within the time and manner established, the conflict of interest and failure to retain from the execution of contracts, by signing six documents with Aledex-Info. The document was to be submitted to the National Anticorruption Center with a further application of fines of 100 to 300 standard units. Additionally, the NAC ordered the referral of the case to the competent court, seeking annulment of contracts. However, this finding of the NAC did not prevent Ambros to participate in local elections in 2015, in which he won the third term as mayor of Ungheni.
Moreover, this year, the District Council awarded the company in the contest Businessman of the Year 2015.
In the same year, according to the portal moldovacurata, Ambros won the suit against NAC in the first instance. Rascani District Court of Chisinau decided to annul the finding of the NAC. In its turn, NAC appealed the court decision and the Court of Appeal is examining the case.
Ambros's team in the electoral campaign of 2015 included the businessmen Vasile Binzaru (director of BNV LLC), Ion Scutaru (director of Orsus LLC) and Alexandru Maler (director of Maler Alexander GT and Asito), all of them then became councilors. The latter, now appears on the list of PPEM.