Breaking News/The Constitutional Court Has Six Newly Appointed Judges

Breaking News/The Constitutional Court Has Six Newly Appointed Judges
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19 August 2019 | 12:59

The Government, the Parliament and the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM) appointed six judges to the Constitutional Court (CC). One of them, Serghei Țurcan served as a judge under the Democratic Party Government as well. All six have to restore society’s trust in the Constitutional Court – an institution which, at the beginning of June, was involved in making some controversial decisions in favor of the then governing Democratic Party. 

ZdG studied the CVs and the declarations of assets of the six newly appointed judges from the Constitutional Court.

July 24, 2019: The Parliament’s Committee for Legal Issues, Appointments and Immunity selected Vladimir Grosu and Nicolae Eșanu as judges to the Constitutional Court from a pool of 16 people who entered the contest. The Parliament plenary did not discuss, vote or approve the judges’ nominations, because over the past few weeks several ACUM deputies had expressed their disagreement with the names the Committee selected.

July 30, 2019: The Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM) selected the ex-magistrate Eduard Ababei and the university professor Serghei Țurcan as judges to the Constitutional Court (CC). Initially, 17 people registered for the contest the CSM organized. Three of them later withdrew from the competition.

August 9, 2019: The Government created a Commission to select the candidates for its two seats in the Constitutional Court. Twelve people entered the contest. The Commission proposed four names: Professor Liuba Șova, Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Eduard Serbenco, former Minister of Justice Vladimir Grosu (who was previously selected by the Parliament) and Professor Nicolae Roșca, a former candidate on the lists of ACUM bloc during the parliamentary elections of February 2019. 

August 15, 2019: The leaders of the three governing parties (the Socialist, the Action and Solidarity Party and the Dignity Platform) proposed new names for the Constitutional Court. The candidates from the July 25 selection, former Secretary of State Nicolae Eșanu and former Justice Minister Vladimir Grosu, were replaced with Domnica Manole’s candidacy and Vladimir Țurcanu’s candidacy. The two candidates are affiliated to a political party- Domnica Manole is a former judge who ran on the lists of ACUM bloc during the parliamentary elections of February 2019, and -Vladimir Țurcanu is a Socialist deputy.  

August 16, 2019: The new judges: Vladimir Țurcanu, Domnica Manole, Serghei Țurcan, Eduard Ababii, Liuba Șova and Nicolae Roșca took the oath of entry into office. 

Candidates of the Parliament

Vladimir Țurcanu  was elected deputy on the Socialist Party list in the parliamentary elections of February 24, 2019. Previously he was also on the lists of the Communist Party, for the 2005-2009 Legislature. He was a member of the Moldova United Party, joining the Socialist Party in 2012. And although in May 2015 he stated that he does not intend to join the Socialists, but to collaborate with them,  in 2017 Țurcanu joined the Socialist Party. 

He worked between 1976-1982 as an inspector in the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic Prosecutor’s Office. In 1982 he became a prosecutor in Rîbnița district. In 1997 he became Deputy Prime Minister of Internal Affairs and eventually became Minister of Internal Affairs from 1999 to 2001. 

Vladimir Țurcanu served two years as the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the Russian Federation, and was also an alternate member of the delegation of the Republic of Moldova to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Properties, Lexus cars and 11,000 dollars in a bank deposit

Before re-election to a new term in Parliament in 2014, Vladimir Țurcanu had an apartment and a house of over 300 square meters, but also a Lexus model car. After three years in Parliament, he owns two more apartments and a new Lexus, which cost him well over a 51,439 euros or over one million lei, according to the portal  Investigaţii.md. In 2016, Țurcanu invested 20,576 euros (400,000 lei) in a 94 square meter apartment, and a year later – 34,053 euros (662,000 lei), in a 103 square meter apartment. In 2016 he acquired and started using a Lexus RX-200T, amounting for 10,000 euros. He acquired the car under an exchange contract. 

In the  declaration of assets and personal interests for the period 2017-2018,  Vladimir Țurcanu declares a house of 363.9 square meters, evaluated at 113,166 euros (2.2 million lei), as well as three apartments, with an area of ​​80 square meters, 94.5 square meters and 103.5 square meters, estimated at 13,374 euros (260,000 lei), 20,576 euros (400,000 lei) and 34,053 euros (662,000 lei). All four buildings belong to the Țurcan family through transferring contracts of possession and use.

The Socialist deputy has obtained over the last two years a salary of over 18,004 euros (350,000 lei) from the Parliament, but also a military pension of over 10,288 euros (200,000 lei). Țurcanu also mentioned in his declaration of assets two land properties of 200 square meters and 600 square meters, which he obtained through exchange contracts, in 2001. The total value of the two lots amounts to 37,859 euros (736,000 lei). Țurcan also owns a bank deposit of 11,000 dollars.

Domnica Manole has been a judge for over 25 years, first as a magistrate at the Chișinău Court, and since 2005, at the Chișinău Court of Appeal.

In May 2016, Domnica Manole figured in a  criminal case  after she issued a decision obliging the Central Electoral Commission to organize a republican referendum on the initiative of the Dignity and Truth Platform, and on July 4, 2017, she was dismissed by the Superior Council of Magistrates, based on an opinion of the Information and Security Service.

On July 8, 2019, the ex-magistrate Domnica Manole was acquitted in the case in which she was accused of pronouncing a decision against the law in the referendum file.

The former magistrate ran in the parliamentary elections of February 24, 2019, on the national list of the ACUM Block, as well as on a uninominal constituency, no. 40 Cimișlia, but failed to obtain a deputy seat.

According to the declaration of assets and personal interests for the last two years, the former magistrate indicates a salary from the Chișinău Court of Appeals of 6,481 euros (126,000 lei), a pension worth 20,061 euros (390,000 lei), a bank deposit worth 10,570 euros (205,480 lei), interest 632 euros (12,292 lei) and 14,100 euros as income after the alienation of a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport model car.

The Manole family owns a fruit plot of 574 square meters, valued at just over 2,058 euros (40,000 lei), an apartment of 130 square meters with a value of around 51,439 euros, almost one million lei, a garage and an underground parking place. The Manole spouses own two cars: Nissan Murano, made in 2012 and bought in 2018 for 14,100 euros, and Dacia Logan, made in 2007 and bought in 2011 with 2,058 euros (40,000 lei). The family declares shares in Filomela, Impex-div and Vad-com companies. In the bank accounts, the family holds 2,066 euros (40,159 lei).

The Superior Council of Magistrates’ candidates

The Democratic Party ruling coalition named him to the Superior Council of Magistrates. The Court recommended him to the Constitutional Court 

Serghei Țurcan is Chair of the Department of Public Law at the Free International University of Moldova (ULIM). He has a PhD in law and is teaching at ULIM since 1998. From 2010-2013, he was a member of the Superior Council of Prosecutors (CSP). 

In December 2017, the Parliament elected Țurcan as a member of the Superior Council of Magistrates. Seven members voted for him, all belonging to the ruling coalition, formed around the Democratic Party of Moldova. Later the Parliament approved Țurcan’s candidacy with the votes of 57 deputies from the same coalition. 

At the time that the Democrats elected Țurcan, Alexandru Cauia, dean of the Faculty of Law at ULIM, was vice-president of the Democratic Party. In the meantime, Cauia has become vice rector for academic strategy and study programs at the educational institution where Țurcan continues to work.

Serghei Țurcan was recommended to the Constitutional Court by the Superior Council of Magistrates, where he has been active since the beginning of 2018. The members of the Superior Council of Magistrates elected him from a pool of 17 applicants.

“I have never been a member of any party. I have always been politically equidistant and I will continue to be so in the Superior Council of Magistrates. Mr. Cauia does not have any levers to influence me,” Serghei Țurcan told ZdG.

Income from several sources in 2018

Professor Serghei Țurcan owns a modest assets. He lives with his wife in a 54.5 square meter apartment, acquired in 1995. Since 2007, the Țurcan family has owned a 34.8 square meter garage, and they have owned a 2012 Toyota Prius since 2017. In his declaration of assets, the car is amounted to 3,587 euros (70,000 lei), although the market price of such a car is at least double.

In 2018, Serghei Țurcan reported income from several sources: 8,250 euros (161,000 lei) from the Superior Council of Magistrates, 5,996 euros (117,000 lei) from the University, 422 euros (8,232 lei) from the National Agency for Curriculum and Evaluation, 321 euros (6,264 lei) from the Information and Security Service, 95 euros (1860 lei) from the Academy of Public Administration and around 3 euros (54 lei) from the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Education and Research. In 2018, his wife, an employee at the telecommunications company Moldcell, earned 15,552.46 euros (303,500 lei).

A 45,000 euro car and 81,990 euros in the bank

Eduard Ababei, the second judge the Superior Council of Magistrates elected, is currently a lawyer at the Eduard and Lilia Ababei Associates in Drochia. Previously, he was a judge at the Drochia District Court and from 2009-2016 he was a judge and vice-president of the Bălți Court of Appeal. Ababei was also President of the Council of the National Institute of Justice and lecturer at Alecu Russo State University of Bălți for four years. 

In his 2018 declaration of assets and his conflict of interest statement, Ababei declared an income of 26,032 euros (508,000 lei) from his law practice, 18,448 euros (360,000 lei) from property rental and 1,025 euros (20,000 lei) from renting agricultural land. That year he also received a pension of 7,994 euros (156,000 lei). Ababei’s wife, Lilia Ababei, earned 71,741 euros (1.4 million lei) from legal practice.

The couple own a 120 square meter house in Drochia, inherited in 2016, as well as two apartments: one 54 square meter flat in Drochia and another 47 square meter flat in Bălți. They also own a 55 square meter commercial space in which the Eduard and Lilia Ababei law firm is based. 

Eduard Ababei also declared a 2017 Volvo XC90 worth 45,000 euros, a 2008 Renault Koleos, as well as dozens of agricultural properties totalling approximately 150 hectares of land, most of which were purchased in 2018. 

“The lands are leased to different agents. They are located in different villages. I bought the terrains to lease them, they are valued at 76,866 euros (1.5 million lei),” Eduard Ababei told ZdG, stating that in the last two and a half years, his family income “was about 281,840 euros (5.5 million lei), all declared to the state, taxes paid.”

In the 2018 declaration of assets, Ababei also indicated bank deposits of 81,990 euros (1.6 million lei).

Government’s candidates 

Ran for deputy as an ACUM Bloc candidate 

Nicolae Roșca is a lawyer, a university professor and Chair of  the Faculty of Law at Moldova State University. In addition to his academic activity, Nicolae Roșca has served as a member of the Expert Council of the National Securities Commission, a member of the Licensing Commission for the activity of notaries, a member of the Licensing Commission for the Lawyers’ Profession, a member of the scientific advisory council of the Supreme Court of Justice and was head of the disciplinary board of the Superior Council of Magistrates.

Roșca has not held any public office until now. In 2016, he became an elected member of the National Permanent Bureau of the Action and Solidarity Party. He ran for deputy as an ACUM Bloc candidate in the February 24, 2019 parliamentary elections, but did not obtain a parliamentary seat.

In his declaration of assets and personal interests from December 2018, Nicolae Roșca declared an income of 13,477 euros (263,000 lei) from Moldova State University. During the same period, his wife – Alla Roșca, a high school teacher from Chișinău –  received a salary of 7,174 euros (140,000 lei). In the two years, the family obtained 10,966 euros (214,000 lei) from the lease of a space to the Associate Law Firm Băieșu and Roșca, of which Nicolae Roșca is a partner.

According to Roșca’s declaration of assets, his family owns a 900 square meter plot of land (with a declared value of 43,711 euros (853,000 lei), a 66 square meter apartment acquired in 1995, and a 2010 Toyota Corolla bought in the same year for 13,000 euros. In December 2018, the couple had a little over 2,716 euros (53,000 lei) in their bank accounts.

The candidate the Government commission gave the highest score

Liuba Șova obtained the highest score in Government’s contest for the position of Constitutional Court judge. For the last 25 years, Șova has been a lecturer at the Department of Constitutional Law and Administrative Law (presently Department of Public Law) at Moldova State University. From 2005-2007, Șova was an advisor to the President of the Constitutional Court, Victor Pușcaș.

From 1998-2005, Liuba Șova practiced law. She has not held public office until now, and hence has never filed any declarations of assets. When contacted by ZdG, Șova specified that she owns two two-room apartments in Chișinău, and does not have a personal car.

AUTHOR MAIL sandulacki@mail.md

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