Anastasia Nani, Diana Răilean comentarii | 1201 views
A number of militaries from the Ministry of Defense think they were wronged in the distribution of state dwellings and question how the Ministry distributed the flats. They say the distribution was not transparent and it was based on nepotism principles. The Minister of Defense says he observed the law but refuses to make public the names of the militaries that have received state dwellings or purchased them on public money this year.
Law Allows, Ministry Does Not Guarantee
Hundreds of families of the militaries employed with the National Army have been waiting for many years to receive dwellings. Some of them lived hard with two children until they grew up in a hostel room of seventeen square meters; others cannot afford to have a second child because they have no place to live. The modest salaries do not allow many of them even to dream of buying a dwelling on their own money. At the beginning of 2007, over 720 families of militaries were entered in the list of those who wished to have a dwelling. According to the Law on Status of Militaries, they are provided with dwellings “within the limit of the allocations provided by the state budget for such purposes.” As we can see, the law stipulates the right of militaries to dwellings, but the Ministry of Defense (MOD), which is responsible for the implementation of this provision, does not observe it for various reasons. After obtaining 127 million Lei from the sale of two land plots last year, MOD committed to provide dwellings to the National Army militaries. In all, nearly 190 families of militaries from the garrisons of Chişinău, Cahul, Ungheni and Floreşti received dwellings. According to the law, militaries have the right to privatize the dwellings provided they have served not less than fifteen years in the National Army. The militaries hired on a contract basis and living on the military campuses, benefited from the right to privatize their dwellings or to financial compensations to buy new dwellings. Based on special certificates, issued by MOD, the militaries could buy flats in any town in Moldova.
MOD has lost in the past years a number of lawsuits initiated by the militaries who claimed their rights to dwellings. Since justice was not made to them in the country, many of them had to appeal to the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR). One of the cases lost by Moldova at ECHR is that of a former National Army military, colonel Vadim Cogut, who had been in the list of those waiting for a dwelling since 1992. Vadim Cogut, with 28 years of service in the National Army, carried on a lawsuit with the Ministry of Defense for many years. On 23 November 2000, the Supreme Court of Justice obliged MOD to provide a dwelling to Vadim Cogut. Since MOD did not execute the court decision, the colonel filed a complaint with Centru District Court in Chisinau and requested that the method of enforcement of the court decision of 23 November 2000 be changed by having MOD pay the value of a two-room flat. On 18 May 2001, Centru District Court satisfied the plaintiff’s claim and obliged MOD to pay 83 thousand Lei. Two years later, the enforcement agent informed Cogut that MOD had refused to enforce the court ruling of May 2001. For this reason, Cogut instituted new legal proceedings against the Government. The Court of Appeal stopped the process on the grounds that MOD could not be responsible for the Executive’s failure to allocate funds.
In July 2004, Cogut had to appeal to ECHR on the grounds that his rights to a fair trial and protection of property were violated. The Court unanimously established the violation of those rights by the non-enforcement of the court decision in the plaintiff’s favor for nearly three years. On 4 December 2007, ECHR convicted Moldova and obliged it to pay EUR 2,500 as pecuniary damages and EUR 800 as non-pecuniary damages.
Nineteen Years in Army for Several Meters in Hostel
The law says that the militaries hired on a contract basis for 20 calendar years, who do not have, when they are put in reserve, their own dwellings or have dwellings provided by the employer, without the right to privatize them, must benefit from financial compensation or the right to a flat. However, although the law stipulates such right, things are far from being so in practice.
This is also the case of Officer Vadim Tărâţă, who had been Chief of Division for Arms, Artillery and Rackets of the Ministry of Defense before. Tărâţă began his military career in the Far East and returned to the National Army in 1993. He filed a request for dwelling from the very beginning. He received a room in a hostel after half a year. According to Tărâţă, the flats were distributed without taking the list in account and so, he had to sue MOD in three years. He won only in seven years.
Although the MOD was obliged to offer a dwelling to Tărâţă, it did not hurry to enforce the court decision. When a little time was left until the expiration of the time frame given by the court, Tărâţă was invited by the Ministry’s management and offered to sign a letter of reconciliation by which he accepted extension of that time frame. "I remained to live in the hostel, in a room of 17 square meters, with my wife and two children, expecting the promised dwelling,” Tărâţă says. Later, after the Ministry of Defense sold a number of land plots and started to distribute flats, it was confirmed to the military that he was included in the list of those who were to receive flats. But he did not get a flat. “The Ministry’s administration told me that I could not get a flat because I did not have the necessary length of service, of 20 years, in the National Army. And this in the situation when my length of service in the army was 19 years and 9 months,” the military says, specifying that the Ministry’s management did not remember about the transaction of reconciliation and the court decision. At the same time, he added, some militaries who had had only 10 or 15 years of service in the National Army received flats. Tărâţă also says that MOD had over 700 flats, and that only about 200 have been offered to officers. "Nobody knows to whom they were distributed or whether they were sold to somebody,” he specifies.
Treated with Contempt
Another military overlooked in the distribution of dwellings is the lieutenant-colonel in reserve Anatol Matcovschi. He lives in a flat provided by the employer together with his wife and two daughters, one of which is disabled and has had a number of surgeries. The Main Specialist in the Division for Armament, Artillery and Rackets of the Ministry of Defense has served in the army since 1984 and in the National Army from 1992 to 2002. MOD promised a dwelling to Anatol Matcovschi back in 1994, when he was entered in the list of persons to be provided incentives. He has been receiving the same answer from the MOD for fourteen years: “The Ministry of Defense knows your family’s situation and once we have available living space, we will consider the possibility of offering it to your family.”
The military says that in 2006, when Chisinau Mayor’s Office provided 30 flats to MOD, the way how those dwellings were distributed seemed suspicious to him. “Although a flat was promised to us many times, we did not get it either in 2006 or in 2007,” Matcovschi says. “Flats were given only to those who have relations at the Ministry or who have resorted to improper actions,” he says, specifying that some got divorces for the very reason to state that they had no place to live, and others received flats without having the necessary length of military service. Anatol Matcovschi’s wife felt forced to ask for a hearing with the Minister. “During the discussion, Mr. Vrabie never looked her in the eyes. When she said that we would go to court if the problem is not solved, the Minister answered shortly: “Sue us,” Anatol Matcovschi told us.
Living in Wooden Barracks
As we have seen, the living conditions of most National Army militaries are miserable. Over 70 families of militaries live at present in wooden barracks from the former USSR, on Vasile Lupu Street in the capital’s Buiucani district. The inhabitants of those buildings, which can hardly be called houses, say that about seven families, out of those 70 that live in barracks, received new dwellings last year. "Indeed, the conditions are bad, but we have nobody to complain to,” the military Vitalie C. acknowledged.
(Lack of) Transparency at Ministry of Defense
We requested from the Ministry of Defense, Vitalie Vrabie, the list of militaries who had received dwellings or bought them on public money, as well as other information about how the dwellings had been distributed. The answer came in one month. The Minister assured us that “the procedure took place in accordance with the regulation approved by the Government at the end of 2007.” Asked to tell us why MOD avoided making public the list of those over 180 militaries who had been provided dwellings, the Deputy Minister of Defense, Igor Malai, told us that he did not see any reasons why it should become public. "The number is important,” the Deputy Minister said, adding: “I don’t think that the militaries who obtained dwellings would like to see their names published.”The investigation has been produced under “Journalists Against Corruption” Project, implemented by the Investigative Journalism Center within the Strengthening Monitoring Capacity of Civil Society in Moldova Program (SMCSMP), funded by the US Government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation and administered by USAID under the Threshold Country Program for Moldova, Second Component. SMCCSMP is implemented by the Academy for Educational Development (AED), with technical support from IREX.
[ 2013-04-02 00:00 ]
[ 2012-10-06 00:00 ]
[ 2012-09-18 00:00 ]
[ 2012-06-21 00:00 ]
[ 2012-06-04 00:00 ]
[ 2012-05-08 00:00 ]
Moldovan newspapers and televisions committed to respect the children’s human rights in news stories and features
[ 2012-05-04 00:00 ]
In cazul preluarii investigatiilor sau stirilor
plasate pe pagina web se va face referire,
in mod obligatoriu, la Centrul de Investigatii Jurnalistice.
Copyright © 2004 www.investigatii.md
bdul Renasterii 25/1, ap.3, Chisinau, Moldova
tel./fax (03732) 220844 email: email@example.com