EDITORIAL: Will the European Prosecutor’s Office take Care of the Moldovan Corrupt Officials?
People keep complaining to ZdG on a daily basis. A school bus donated by Romania disappeared and the children were left without transport, one of them was injured on the way; the wood donated by the Dutch to the pensioners did not reach its destination and the town hall does not explain where it disappeared; acts of corruption occur on child adoption; raider attacks on business; illegal land grabbing; the police do not react to complaints of domestic violence. Although the ZdG writes and publishes at least one text on corruption issues every day, it is becoming increasingly difficult to respond to citizens’ requests. This is because there are no simple answers even to the simplest questions.
Normally, such issues would not reach an editorial office. The wood of the pensioners would not be stolen, there would be no pressure and immoral acts on child adoption, the school bus would not go a meter in another direction except for the one established by law in the service of children, the lands would not be abusively occupied.
However, if any of the above happens in a European state, the citizen knows exactly where to go: to the police, or to the child protection authority, to the City Hall, to the tax office. And everywhere he is sure to get an answer. And if he didn’t receive the right answer, this incident would become a news topic.
As for Moldova, the opposite is true: people no longer trust mayoralties, prosecutors, ministries, departments, courts; therefore some of them do not even address them, or have already addressed many times but received no answer. That is why they turn to several independent media outlets, including ZdG.
We at ZdG share a growing burden and fear: on the one hand, we really appreciate people’s trust, on the other – we feel that some of our readers are disappointed that we didn’t answer them last week or last month or even last year. Although we work non-stop to write specifically on topics of interest and issues reported by citizens, we can no longer cope.
Institutions, especially those related to justice and human rights, do not work, and the ZdG cannot do justice, it can only conduct investigations substantially documented from open sources. What’s next? What do citizens get from these investigations? Could journalists do more? Could citizens ask for more? Could someone change anything?
Looking at the number of people with criminal cases participating in the current election, at the chronic lethargy of Moldovan prosecutors, we are horrified that corrupt people could fill the future parliament again. Are there any chances to change things?
During a video conference last week, I asked EU parliamentarian Petras Austrevicius, a good connoisseur of Moldova and post-Soviet corruption, if the EU will consider connecting the work of the new European prosecutor’s office headed by Laura Codruța Kovesi to the new acts of bilateral cooperation with Moldova. He smiled bitterly and said that this new European prosecutor’s office was originally meant to deal with European corruption, including public money from European taxes that would have been misused or misappropriated. It is precisely here that Moldova may come to the attention of the dreaded prosecutor Kovesi: for embezzlement of European funds, or for money laundering through European financial institutions. Although everything is vague and the actions of the new prosecutor’s office are only in their infancy, I have a new hope that Moldova could have an ally in investigating and prosecuting the big corrupt officials.
The EU has recently taken very generous acts towards Moldova: development assistance for small businesses, access to the European commercial space, vaccines, and scholarships. All this is excellent, but people are suffocating from injustice and prefer to leave for the EU rather than enjoy EU aid here at home. Therefore, the fight against corruption should be the most urgent product imported from Brussels, and the market is already open: the Moldovan billion has been laundered through European banks, our oligarchs keep the stolen goods in European banks and locations, even the European aid, such as wood from the elderly or school buses, is stolen.
In the meantime, we can take a few simple steps together: denounce corruption, stop voting for the corrupt and subscribe to the ZdG, so that we stay together and become as many as possible.