23 November 2022

Author: Vitaliy Kasko


This Functional Analysis of Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office in Moldova was commissioned by the Institute for European Policies and Reforms` (IPRE), with the financial support of Soros Foundation Moldova (SFM). The research forming the basis of the Functional Analysis explored the situation with the jurisdiction, powers and limitations of APO in legislation and in practice as well as functioning of APO and its cooperation and coordination with other authorities within its competence. To that end, the research, per its terms of reference, inter alia, covered the following:

  • jurisdiction of APO in respect of corruption and high-level corruption cases (both in terms of own investigation and supervision of cases investigated by NAC), safeguards against removing cases from the jurisdiction of APO, rules of assignment and reassignment of cases within the APO;
  • powers and limitations of APO in conducting investigation and prosecution of high-level corruption (including but not limited to capacities to conduct analytical work, to apply seizure (arrest) of assets and other interim measures, to conduct investigative actions (ordinary and covert), to apply plea bargaining tools and liability of legal entities, capacities in witness and whistleblower protection, and in presenting corruption cases in court proceedings;
  • organisational structure, human, financial and technical resources;
  • disciplinary liability and dismissals of APO prosecutors, right to challenge the instructions from the superiors;
  • planning, defining priorities and ensuring resources in criminal investigation and prosecution of corruption, dealing with different typologies of cases (high level corruption with international dimension and mostly domestic, low-level corruption, cases related to corruption);
  • detection of corruption by APO prosecutors;
  • cooperation and coordination with other national authorities (NAC, CARA, GPO, FIU (SPCSB), FSS, CS, MoI, ANI, MoJ, National Bank, etc.);
  • recovery of assets from corruption and money laundering by APO prosecutors;
  • international cooperation (police-to-police cooperation and MLA, extradition, modern tools in MLA);
  • performance indicators and statistics, public relations / communication (public and internal), capacity building; etc.

The findings of Functional Analysis are presented in two sections, which separately analyse the jurisdiction, powers and limitations of APO (Section I) and functioning of APO and cooperation with other actors (Section II). The research generally confirms that, despite the substantial progress achieved by Moldova in its anti-corruption efforts, many significant gaps and omissions remain to be addressed in both its legislative framework and practice to reach the goal of effectively combating high-level corruption in the country. In particular, it was established that the mandate of APO is too broad and goes beyond corruption and corruption related crimes, not to mention high-level corruption, that there are problems with the workload, organisation, prioritisation and planning of its work. APO does not have sufficient independence within the prosecutor’s office system, nor does it have enough organisational, financial, human, technical and other resources to ensure the effective operation of this institution. Moreover, even those minimally necessary provisions that were laid down in the Law on Specialised Prosecutor’s Offices (No 159) back in 2016 have not been mostly implemented until now (over 6 years). The findings served as a basis for recommendations for an enhanced response which are presented in the concluding Section III of this Functional Analysis (Roadmap to enhance the efficiency of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office – Key Recommendations). For greater convenience, the key recommendations of Functional Analysis are divided into sections and suggested implementation time frames – short-term (up to 6 months), middle-term (6-24 months) and long-term (3y+). It should be noted separately that the provided recommendations are quite detailed and practical, but only their complete and accurate implementation can, in the opinion of the author, radically change the situation and ensure the effective work of APO in combating high-ranking corruption in Moldova.

This publication was developed within the project “Ensuring integrity, efficiency and independence in the justice system of the Republic of Moldova” implemented by the Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE) with the support of the Soros Moldova Foundation, as well as the project “Enhancing the role of think tanks in supporting the national European integration effort of the Republic of Moldova #ThinkTanks4EUMembership” with the support of the Open Society Foundations. The views expressed in this publication belong exclusively to the author.

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