EDITORIAL: Corruption on the Ballot Paper

EDITORIAL: Corruption on the Ballot Paper
by
07 June 2021 | 09:47

This week: The European Prosecutor’s Office was launched, and in Chișinău, prosecutors demanded the acquittal of the controversial businessman Veaceslav Platon; ZdG received a refusal to its request for information on criminals from the leadership of political parties; the judge who criticized the corruption in the judiciary was dismissed. Early elections could be diverted by corrupt, but could be won by citizens; The fight against criminals is harder than ever.

On Thursday, June 3, in Brussels, representatives of the EU’s committees on law and civil liberties will discuss legal abuses against journalists. The members of the European Parliament are preparing a report on the multiple cases of intimidation of journalists and activists through legal proceedings, based on which they will call on the European Commission to make legislative adjustments to prevent such abuses and give European journalists more freedom and security. The European institutions use the term SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation), so-called artificially created lawsuits to discourage journalists or members of civil society from exposing the actions of the big corrupt. Both journalists and well-known activists from all over the world are taking part in Thursday’s discussion in the EU institutions, sending a signal to discourage the corrupt, but also a sign of support for anti-corruption activists.

Also these days, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office started its activity in Brussels. Laura Codruța Kövesi is the first Chief Prosecutor of this institution and everyone is optimistically waiting for the investigations she will conduct against VAT fraud, money laundering that harms the EU budget, embezzlement of public funds.

Globally, these days several integrity whistleblowers have received protection from the state because they have denounced the acts of corruption they have discovered at work, benefiting from legal, financial, and psychological support. New revelations have also been published in the case of the Russian integrity whistleblower Magnitsky.

We have to mention a hideous disproportion: the more transparent a state is, the more actions it will take to monitor and fight corruption, and the more advanced the social and economic well-being of citizens will be. At the same time, the more corrupt a state is, the more anti-corruption actions will be mimicked, the corrupt will steal more and feel more protected, and the citizens will live in poverty and fear of denouncing corruption.

This is exactly what we see if we analyze the anti-corruption efforts in the EU countries or Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan. But it is better to analyze what happened these days in this regard in Moldova.

On Wednesday, June 2, Moldova, one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in Europe, received unexpectedly good help: the European Commission approved a recovery plan worth 600 million euros for the next 3 years. The commission decided to provide 600 million euros to fight poverty in a state where an oligarchic group stole the billion, putting the budget gap at the expense of the citizens. How does Moldova react in this context?

The answer is acid: the swindlers believe they can get this money by protecting corruption. While all international partners are waiting for firm signals from the General Prosecutor’s Office and the judiciary on the investigation, conviction, and punishment of the corrupt, in Chișinău these days the system has carried out 2 actions: on the one hand, prosecutors demand the final acquittal of the controversial banker and politician, ex-parliamentarian Veaceslav Platon, on the other hand, the judiciary fired Judge Cotea, who a few months ago dared to talk to the ZdG reporter about the octopus of corruption in the judiciary.

It’s not easy at ZdG either. As we face several judicial cases, some of them are aimed at discouraging reporters from exposing corruption (for example, it is still pending the case of former President Dodon, who has sued us in Court for reporting about his luxurious holiday), on the other hand, editorial requests to the authorities regarding politicians’ criminal records remained unanswered or officially refused to give access to the information.

The time is nearing when the average citizen can help the press, activists, and whistleblowers – by voting against the corrupt on the ballot paper.

AUTHOR MAIL eng.zdg@gmail.com

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