Prosecutors’ clarifications on the elections of the Gagauz Bashkan, the day after the inauguration of Yevgenia Gutul: “11 persons were recognized as suspects”
The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (PA) has clarified the criminal case on illegal financing and corruption of voters during the election campaign for the candidate for the position of Bashkan of the Autonomous Territorial Unit (ATU) of Gagauzia, the day after the inauguration of Evgenia Gutka. Eleven people were recognized as suspects, the PA announced in a statement.
The criminal case was initiated by the National Anti-Corruption Centre (NAC) on 27 April 2023, on the basis of materials received from the National Investigation Inspectorate (INI) of the General Inspectorate of Police, according to the constituent elements of the offence of corruption of voters and violation of the management of the financial means of political parties or electoral funds (provided for in Article 1811 para. (1), Art. 1811 para. (11) and Art. 1812 para. (5) Criminal Code).
In the framework of the criminal prosecution, on 7 and 13 May 2023, NAC employees, jointly with INI employees, under the control of the PA, carried out searches at the premises of the persons concerned, where material evidence was found and seized, such as: draft documents concerning the expenses for transporting voters; draft documents concerning the provision of food products; calculation techniques; lists of persons who would have been remunerated; money, etc.
At the same time, on 16 May 2023, the electoral lists were collected from the Comrat Court, Comrat Municipality, and examined with the participation of members of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) of ATU Gagauzia.
“Having examined the lists, so far, it has been established that approximately 50 persons are listed as voters, although they were not on the territory of the Republic of Moldova during the election period,” the PA notes.
Further, the PA informs that a number of prosecution actions are being carried out, including the examination of objects seized during the searches (mobile phones, computer equipment, documents, etc.).
For the offence referred to in 1812 para. (5) of the Criminal Code, the law provides for a penalty of a fine of up to 92 500 lei or imprisonment for a term of 2 to 7 years, in both cases with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or to exercise certain activities for a term of 2 to 5 years. If the court establishes the guilt of the persons on this episode, the punishment established by law provides for deprivation of the right to hold certain positions related to political activity.
On Wednesday, 19 July, in Comrat took place the inauguration event of the new governor of ATU Gagauzia, Evghenia Guțul. Neither Prime Minister Dorin Recean nor any other government representative attended the ceremony.
On 22 May 2023, the Comrat Court of Appeal validated the mandate of Evghenia Guțul, a member of the “Shor” party, which was declared unconstitutional by the CC, in the post of Bashkan of Gagauzia. According to the final minutes presented by the Central Electoral Commission of Gagauzia, Evghenia Guțul won the second round of the elections for the position of Bashkan of the region with 52.34% of the votes.