Moldova's Anti-Corruption Efforts: General Prosecutor Appointment's Crucial Role

It is unlikely that the head of state will reject Ion Munteanu's candidacy for the position of general prosecutor, as proposed by the Superior Council of Prosecutors (CSP).

This assertion comes from Ilie Chirtoacă, president of Moldova's Legal Resources Center. Chirtoacă contends that the head of state lacks grounds to reject Munteanu's candidacy, as he has successfully passed vetting, as required by law, and undergone thorough scrutiny by a commission. The director of the Legal Resources Center clarified that Maia Sandu has 15 days to decide on Munteanu's candidacy.

"The president has a 15-day window to either appoint him by decree or reject him. However, according to the law and regulations, rejection of the candidacy is permissible only in the presence of incontrovertible evidence. The president must provide a compelling rationale to reject this candidacy, but it is unclear what evidence could warrant such a decision. Moreover, there have been no indications of such risks thus far, considering that Mr. Munteanu has already passed the integrity screening and undergone meticulous scrutiny by a commission. Therefore, the likelihood of this scenario is minimal. It seems that the CSP has anticipated certain conditions in their regulations, as we all recall that this competition has previously taken place and failed," explained Ilie Chirtoacă during a phone interview with Mesager.

Chirtoacă also recalled that appointing a general prosecutor was a precondition set by the European Commission before Moldova could commence negotiations to join the European Union. He affirmed that with the achievement of this objective, it can be confidently stated that the authorities in Chișinău have fulfilled their obligations.

"This appointment is long-awaited for two reasons. Firstly, it comes at a critical time for the Prosecutor's Office, which has been operating under interim leadership. Having a full-fledged general prosecutor with the authority to combat corruption in Moldova and reform the prosecutorial system is paramount. The majority view this development with great optimism. Secondly, this appointment addresses a longstanding issue that Moldova has had with the European Commission. The appointment of the General Prosecutor through a transparent and merit-based process was a prerequisite for advancing negotiations, as expected by EU institutions," opined Ilie Chirtoacă.

It is worth mentioning that the Superior Council of Prosecutors decided to propose Ion Munteanu's candidacy to the president after he emerged as the winner of the competition. On Thursday, May 30th, the CSP conducted the interview phase, and based on the evaluation sheets, the interim general prosecutor, Ion Munteanu, received the highest final score of 9.21 points. Octavian Iachimovschi, the deputy chief prosecutor of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, scored 8.80 points, while prosecutor Alexandru Cernei scored 7.92 points.

The position of general prosecutor remained vacant after Alexandru Stoianoglo was suspended in early October 2021 and discharged from the position at the end of September 2023. The presidential decree to discharge the general prosecutor was based on the CSP members' decision of unsatisfactory evaluation of the general prosecutor's activity in May 2022. The interim was initially held by Dumitru Robu and later by Ion Munteanu.

Translation by Iurie Tataru

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