The patrimonial paintings borrowed a few years ago from the National History Museum were repainted at the express request of the commanding officer of the Gendarmerie because they were quite old and quite faded. The objects, evaluated at thousands of EUR in documents, were destroyed by ungifted and anonymous hands and therefore, the file arrived on the table of military prosecutors.
In 2003, the National History Museum borrowed the Special Intervention Squad of the Gendarmerie 536 patrimonial objects with the purpose to stimulate the employees’ appetite for culture. Each of the objects was worth EUR 2,000 to 10,000. The list included paintings, bronze or stone statues and ancient objects. The CO of the unit, Lucian Pahontiu, was the one who decided to change their aspect. “I filed a report to Colonel Pahontu that I would not paint upon another painting because it is against my artistic and moral principles. Colonel Pahontu ordered me to shut up and follow his orders, and to repaint the objects mentioned above,” one of the employees of the Gendarmerie confessed.
Lucian Pahontu, actually a SPP manager, declared though that all objects were returned in a great condition to the Museum, over five years ago. The control initiated by the unit shows that four medallions were repainted. They represented members of the Ceausescu family and each of them was worth EUR 3,000. Beside the paintings, a stained glass window was partly repainted and two statuettes sculpted by the artist George Terescenco were reinforced with concrete.
The inventory documents showed that several patrimonial goods were fissured or damaged. At the time being, investigators try to establish how and under what circumstances the Intervention Squad borrowed patrimonial objects. First of all, the prosecutors of the Bucharest Military Court try to establish whether there were any offences committed. Considering that the damaged objects were patrimony goods, their destruction might even lead to imprisonment.
The allegedly deteriorated objects are evaluated at a total sum of EUR 150,000. They include three bronze busts of over EUR 30,000. Another investigation takes place at the National History Museum. Specialists are carefully analyzing each object in order to check whether they were affected or not. The Squad commanders claim that the documents regarding the borrowing of these objects expired two years ago.
The contract also stipulates that the institution should pay compensation of 0.1 per cent for each day of delay of the submission of the paintings and statues.