Cornelia Cozonac, Investigative Journalism Center comentarii | 1339 views
The financial reports of the political parties that ran for the elections of 28 November, the size of the donations as well as the declarations of property filed with the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) by the candidates registered on political parties lists shows that unemployed and young people without a penny as well as pensioners and millionaires got involved in the run for those 101 seats in the Parliament. Whether some of the candidates bought their seats in the Parliament, we don’t know. However, it is certain that the donations of some, more than generous, exceed by far their annual income.
MP Seat Between 100 Thousand and 780 Thousand Lei
If taking into account the funds staked by the entities that have entered the Legislature and the number of MPs resulted, then the cost of a MP seat was from 100 thousand to 780 thousand Lei in the November elections, which is twice as much as in the July 2009 elections. The biggest expenditures for a MP seat were incurred by the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM) that, according to the official report, spent 11.7 million Lei in the electoral campaign and got 15 MP seats. Thus, the seat of a MP from DPM costs about 780 thousand Lei. The lowest costs were incurred by the Communist Party of Moldova (CPM), which spent 4.3 million Lei for the parliamentary elections and got 42 seats. Thus, the seat of a MP from CPM cost around 100 thousand Lei. The cost of a place in the Legislature for the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (LDPM) was 310 thousand Lei. LDP stated costs of over 10 million Lei and got 32 seats. In the November elections, the seat of a Liberal Party (LP) MP cost 320 thousand Lei. This entity spent 3.8 million Lei and got 12 seats in the Parliament.
Unemployed and Pensioners Made Donations of Hundreds of Thousands of Lei
According to the electoral legislation, individuals may donate to political parties up to 500 average monthly salaries in one fiscal year, i.e. not more than 1.5 million Lei. This amount also includes membership fees in case of party members. The equivalent of a donation by a legal entity should not exceed 1,000 average monthly salaries by the national economy, i.e. 3 million Lei. Sergiu Lipciu, expert of IDIS Viitorul says that “the ceiling established for donations by individuals and legal entities is extremely high as reported to the living standards of Moldovan citizens, which favors political corruption and especially the sale of places on party lists.” “Correlating this ceiling with the ceiling imposed for campaign costs, which is 21,664,445 Lei – for a political party denotes that 15 individuals or 8 individuals would be enough to fund any party’s campaign,” Sergiu Lipciu specifies. At the same time, the expert thinks that “in such circumstances, equal conditions for participation of all citizens in the political life cannot be ensured, and the dependence on big donors can seriously affect the functionality of democracy, and especially the rights, freedoms and wellbeing of citizens.”
Of the entities that have access to the new Parliament, DPM collected the biggest amount in their electoral fund during the campaign. This party has the longest list of payers to their electoral fund – 292 – that officially contributed to the party’s campaign budget with the amount of over 11.7 million Lei, which is a record amount for Moldovan electoral campaigns. One hundred and one individuals and entities, i.e. one third of the donors, deposited 75 percent of the donations to the party’s treasury. DPM also stands out by the highest number of unemployed and pensioners that made generous donations during the November campaign – 1.34 million Lei, which accounts for 11.5% of its revenues. For instance, at least 21 unemployed people donated to this entity between 3,000 and 100,000 Lei, and 6 pensioners donated between 3,200 and 90 thousand Lei. In the latest campaign, DPM collected three times more money as compared to the campaign of 29 July 2009 and six times more as compared to the campaign of 5 April 2009. The biggest donation accounted for 720 thousand Lei and represented one of the biggest contributions made by an individual in this campaign. In this context, we point out that an average donation to this political entity amounted to 40,091 Lei, i.e. about 13 average salaries by the economy.
For LDPM, 141 individuals and legal entities made donations in the November 2010 campaign. On the average, a donation represented 71.4 thousand Lei. For instance, 33 donors donated 72% of the total funds stated and collected in the electoral fund. Unlike DPM, the list of LDPM donors is less composed of unemployed and pensioners and their donations accounted for just about 1.5 %. However, six pensioners donated to LDP between 3,000 and 40,000 Lei. On the other hand, an important category of donors, although rather variegated, was made up of various public officers and officials, who donated over 4.27 thousand Lei, which accounts for about 43% of the total. Moreover, in the case of LDPM, we have a record donation for this campaign - 800 thousand Lei and 4 donations from 500 thousand Lei and up, and the first 15 candidates on the list of this entity collected nearly half of the total revenues.
The CPM ranked first among the electoral candidates situated at a big distance from DPM and LDPM. The financial reports indicate a situation that is unspecific for a party that claims to represent the most numerous social categories. Being in opposition, the CPM stated much lower revenues than those two political entities. This does not mean that CPM did not collect more funds than what stated, IDIS Viitorul experts say, specifying that this entity rather strove to hide its real donors. CPM does not differ from other parties with a narrower social representation on the funding segment, having a list of 76 donors. Over two-thirds of its campaign revenues were deposited into the party’s treasury by 16 donors, the amounts varying between 100 and 250 thousand Lei. Seventy eight percent of its revenues were deposited by 24 individuals and entities, i.e. one third of the donors. The CPM, quoted experts say, could be considered an oligarchic-type of party alongside the other parties of Moldova. The average amount of a donation to CPM was 58,734 Lei, i.e. around 19 average salaries by the economy. We couldn’t check the number of the unemployed and pensioners who made donations to CPM, because this entity did not indicate in the financial reports filed with CEC if those who deposited money into its treasury were employed or not.
Although we did not find unemployed or pensioner donors in the financial reports of the Liberal Party of Moldova (LPM), this entity managed to fit in the legion of the richest parties, ranking fourth. In this campaign, LPM was funded by 31 donors, among which its entire parliamentary team. Very big donors accounted for 83.4 percent of its revenues and an average donation amounted to 123,143 Lei.
Changing Millions for MP’s Salary
As to millionaires – there is a paradox here, too, which is unexplainable at this point. In the electoral campaign of this year, the number of millionaire businesspeople running for MP seats and decided to exchange their revenues of hundreds of thousands of Lei per month for the MP salary of 5-6 thousand Lei was very high. What would the stake be for taking such a step? The desire to devote oneself to the country’s interests, to work for the citizen, concern for protecting one’s business, a group interest, a simple caprice, or the fact that the position of a MP is a very profitable one, unofficially of course?
The stake however seems to be pretty high. The biggest donations to the parties that ran in the November campaign were mostly made by individuals who were among the first 10-20 on the lists of the entities involved in the campaign, i.e. on the eligible positions. The size of donations decreased proportionally to the positions on the list. The arrangement after the elections shows that most of the generous donors from the parties that passed the electoral threshold have already taken their MP seats.
Democratic Party of Moldova
The most generous donor to DPM in the November 2010 campaign was the controversial businessman Vladimir Plahotniuc, registered in this party’s lists at the last minute and quickly installed in the seat of Deputy Speaker of the Parliament. He officially deposited 720 thousand Lei in this party’s money box. Dumitru Diacov, the party’s honorable leader, alongside other five candidates - Alexandru Stoianoglo, Vasile Botnari, Vasile Aghenia, Zinaida Țurcanu – donated 100 thousand Lei each, and Adrian Candu – 85 thousand Lei. Other 4 citizens donated 100 thousand Lei each; however, they couldn’t be found in the party’s lists. One of them – Dorin Andros – is unemployed. Alexandru Stoianoglo, Zinaida Ţurcanu and Vasile Aghenia, according to their declarations filed with CEC, had in 2008-2009 income half as little as their donations (!)
Biggest Donors of the Democratic Party of Moldova
Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova
The most generous candidate registered in the electoral run on the LDPM lists is Ion Ionaş, MP, a former businessman. He donated 800 thousand Lei to this party in the electoral campaign of 28 November, and deposited other 350 thousand Lei into the entity’s budget for the referendum of 5 September. The donation made this year by Ion Ionaş accounts for the third part of his income for the past two years. Valeriu Streleţ donated to the LDPM 500 thousand Lei, the leader of the entity Vladimir Filat – 417 thousand, Victor Bodiu – 183 thousand Lei, Ghenadie Ciobanu and Simion Furdui – 150 thousand Lei each, and Alexandru Cimbriciuc – 100 thousand Lei. Other donations go below 100 thousand Lei. Let us recall that, for the September referendum, Prime Minister Filat donated 506 thousand Lei, Valeriu Streleţ – 250 thousand Lei, and Ghenadie Ciobanu - 150 thousand Lei. Simion Furdui donated 150 thousand Lei to this party, while his income declared for the past two years was 113 thousand Lei. To recall that in two electoral campaigns of 2009, Simion Furdui made donations of 430 thousand Lei.
Generous donations to LDPM were also made by individuals who were not included in the party’s list of candidates. For example, Alexandru Cecan of Assabat Grup SRL and Vasile Matiuşenco of Nata Company SRL donated 500 thousand Lei each, Ion Gangan of Plastcom Plus SRL – 280 thousand Lei, Tudor Rotaru of LVM-TR SRL – 220 thousand Lei, and the mayors of Soroca and of Vadul lui Isac from Cahul donated 150 thousand Lei and 100 thousand Lei, respectively.
Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova
The liberals, although having modest properties, made to their party donations commensurate with the millionaires of other entities. The biggest donation was made by Mihail Cârlig – 500 thousand lei, who had an income of only 152 thousand Lei in the past two years. The PL leader Mihai Ghimpu donated 400 thousand Lei, having declared incomes of 625 thousand Lei for the past two years. We must recall that, in 2009, Mihai Ghimpu donated 755,750 Lei to his party, which was the biggest amount donated by an individual in the two electoral campaigns.
Oleg Bodrug and Alexandru Arseni donated 200 thousand Lei each, the latter having income of only 85 thousand in the past two years. Ion Lupu, Ştefan Urâtu, and Vitalie Marinuţă deposited 150 thousand Lei each into this entity’s treasury, and Gheorghe Brega and Ştefan Chitoroagă – 100 thousand Lei each. Of those who were not included in the list of candidates but made big donations were Alexandru Machedon of Starnet SRL – 300 thousand Lei, Corneliu Molea of Danialen Impex SRL – 295 thousand Lei, and Aliona Gabura of Grand lift SRL – 140 thousand Lei.
For the Communist Party, things are like this: the biggest donations were made not by its leaders or the first candidates on the list, as in the case of the other parties that have entered the Parliament, but by unknown people, some of them even unemployed. For instance, according to the financial reports filed with CEC, only from the district of Anenii Noi six individuals deposited between 120 and 250 thousand Lei. They are Levitchi Anton, Gusev Vitalie (250 thousand Lei each), Cebanu Vitalie – 180 thousand Lei, Jigan Ghenadie – 150 thousand Lei, Gârleanu Gheorghe – 120 thousand Lei. As generous were 4 individuals from Chisinau: Kovali Anatolie, Ciubanaşvili Gheorge, Tiperman Tatiana and Chiticari Elizaveta, who donated to the Communist Party 250 thousand Lei each. Vasilcan Oleg from Orhei donated 120 thousand Lei. Making an analysis of the lists of donations to CPM, filed with CEC in 2009, we established that each of the party leaders had the task to bring donations from a certain district. Responsible for Anenii-Noi last year was the controversial Communist MP Anatolie Popuşoi, who could not be found in the list of CPM donors this year but who we suspect massively contributed to this party’s treasury, especially after he encountered big problems related to his integrity.
Of the CPM leaders, the most generous ones were Igor Dodon and Alexandru Banicov, who donated 150 thousand Lei and 104 thousand Lei, respectively. For the rest, the donations made were extremely modest. For instance, Vladimir Voronin deposited only 50 thousand Lei to the party’s treasury, and Miron Găgăuz, Sergiu Stati, Mark Tkaciuk, Anatolie Zagorodnâi and Igor Vremea – 30 thousand Lei each.
Communist Party of Moldova
Even though this year the media disclosed that certain individuals registered on the list of the Communist Party as donors later said that they didn’t know about it and they couldn’t donate that money, neither CEC nor other bodies empowered to check the sources of funding of the political parties have taken a stand.
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