You can’t swing a cat in Bucharest’s Sector 3 at the moment without hitting yet another block getting a ‘free, EU-financed’ facelift.
Ahead of June 5th’s local election, the mayor of our glorious People’s Republic, Robert Negoita, has focused his re-election campaign on the renovation of communist-era blocks. Negoita would have us believe that he has successfully renovated ‘for free’ more than 800 blocks throughout the sector during his eight years in office. The real figure is said to be closer to 400.
The actual number of renovated blocks is ultimately irrelevant. What is important is how Negoita and the council has paid for the work: enormous loans on less than favourable terms. In total, Negoita has taken out loans worth €80 million, costing €7 million per year in interest alone. What’s more, the council is also banking on EU funds: €52 million this year, of which €26 million in the first quarter alone. In fact, the Sector 3 council managed to absorb just €600,000 in the first quarter of 2016: a take-up rate of just over two per cent.
Make no mistake: Negoita has buried Sector 3 (and its taxpayers: us) in debt for decades to come.
In not entirely unrelated news, Negoita was yesterday exposed by ANAF (the Romanian taxman) as the country’s biggest debtor. ANAF made public a list of all those Romanian taxpayers* who owe more than 1500 lei, and – in another victory for Sector 3 – our man came out top. Negoita owes hundreds of millions of lei, around €51.5 million.
This news raises a number of questions:
How many blocks does that renovate? How many schools? How many hospitals?
Why have ANAF not repossessed everything Negoita owns and thrown him on to the streets?
Most of all though, we want to know how on earth can this piece of shit – already under investigation for tax evasion – now stand for re-election? (And how can anyone possibly justify voting for him?)
Answers on the usual postcard…
*Some very interesting names make the list. That great patriot Gigi Becali doesn’t like paying his taxes, neither does former Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici. A former prime minister, Victor Ciorbea, owes 570,000 lei.
Elena Udrea, Traian Basescu and Victor Ponta’s wife Daciana Sarbu also all make ANAF’s list of shame. Even the former king, Mihai, owes the Romanian state money.