Anticorruption in Moldova
Moldova: fighting corruption
CU SENS investigative stories - Follow the public money
As corruption continues to be a serious issue on all levels in the Republic of Moldova, our partner Cu Sens Media Project decided to focus their activities on investigations that aim to raise awareness among Moldovan citizens about how the public money are spent and take journalism out of its comfort zone. The short-videos format met the general expectations to bring it closer to people and do the job without compromise.
"CU SENS" (in translation - With Meaning) is an independent Media Project founded in 2019 by three investigative award-winning journalists from the Republic of Moldova.
The project started from the belief that investigative journalism is one of the most efficient tools to fight corruption in Moldova. Thus, Cu Sens produced two investigative stories. Their goal was to remove from anonymity some serious cases of waste and embezzlement of public money, by using advanced journalism techniques.
The first investigation (a 20 minutes video you can watch here) reveals the scheme set up by the mayor of Cotul Morii village, who, on account of the floods in the summer of 2010 and the position he held, robbed the state budget for 35 million MDL.
Specifically, after a heavy rainfall and the rupture of the dam, the village of Cotul Morii was flooded 100%. Coincidentally or not, the mayor bought some of the land on which the village was later relocated on June 24, 2010, and the rest of the land, in December 2010. That, while on those lots the state was already building houses for the victims. Subsequently, the mayor sued the state, demanding compensation.
The investigation shows step by step how the scheme was implemented, which ended in January 2020 with a first instance decision in favor of the mayor. Currently, the official is in a new term, after being re-elected mayor of Cotul Morii village, in October 2019, on the PSRM list and is the one who should represent the interests of the state and challenge the decision of the Court of Appeal.
The second investigation shows how Millions of Lei were allocated to research the impact of the pandemic, while state budget revenues fall dramatically due to COVID-19, the economy is declining, doctors lack protective equipment, and officials say that without the help of external partners the state risks defaulting on pensions and salaries. The journalists found that only 10 research projects, have some tangency with the medical field, out of the total 22 financed projects. One of such projects that only have the word “Covid-19” in the title is Reducing the pandemic situation with COVID-19 by expanding new varieties of high quality autumn wheat and barley adapted to climate change. In total, 14.7 million lei were allocated for such scientific research. The investigation highlighted how the public money was wasted and why and how it was possible. (You can watch the video here).
Both videos reached 325.000 views on CU SENS platforms: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Youtube. The mayor who blew the system was republished also by two national TV channels.
Having such a great impact on the public, FNF will continue to support these series in order to contribute to a better awareness of the fact that each citizen deserves to be respected for paying their taxes and duties, and that the representatives of public institutions are responsible for the transparent and efficient use of such resources.