Moldovan President Maia Sandu’s government suspended the opposition-backed Prosecutor General Alexandru Stoianoglo who was detained by security forces in a corruption case.
Sandu won the presidency on an anti-corruption ticket last year and her government has prioritised cleaning up the justice system and the prosecutor general’s office.
Stoianoglo was appointed during the presidency of Sandu’s pro-Russian predecessor, Igor Dodon, in 2019.
He had been due to give a press conference at 6 p.m. local time (1500 GMT) but failed to appear. Local media instead showed masked security forces entering the prosecutor general’s office building to arrest him.
Separately, footage on Moldova’s TV8 channel later showed Stoianoglo being brought to his home while his house was searched. He was charged with abuse of office “in favour of … criminal groups” Victor Furtuna, a state prosecutor who initiated the investigation told reporters.
“This is the settling of scores by President Maia Sandu,” Stoianoglo said in comments carried by local media. He remains in detention. His office could not be reached for further comment.
He has previously denied wrongdoing and said his office had worked in accordance with the law. He accuses Sandu’s government of trying to pressure him to resign.
Justice Minister Serdgiu Litvinenco on Tuesday accused Stoianoglo of being a “puppet in the hands of large corrupt officials and thieves who have been robbing Moldova for decades”.
Moldova, a small country of 3.5 million that borders European Union member Romania, has been dogged by instability and corruption scandals in recent years, including the disappearance of $1 billion from the banking system.
“Today an irreparable political mistake has been made with the arrest of Stoianoglo,” Dodon said, describing the arrest as provoked by “the authorities’ fear of what Stoianoglo might say”.
Photo – A general view of the Parliament building in Chisinau, Moldova. EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU