Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea is asking the Ciolos Government for explanations on the way in which the campaign to purchase Brancusi’s ‘Wisdom of the Earth’ sculpture was prepared and took place.
In a communique for News.ro, Liviu Dragnea pointed out that he was surprised to find out Premier Dacian Ciolos’s reaction to this issue.
“Premier Ciolos asked the ministers who wanted to join a political party to resign and run in the elections campaign. I notice that none other than he is the one who appears on all PNL electoral posters, who continues to get involved in the campaign to support this party, yet he remains Premier. We have the picture of a Government with zero results and zero integrity,” the PSD leader added.
He emphasised that he firmly asks the Ciolos Government to offer explanations on the way in which the campaign to buy Brancusi’s sculpture was prepared and took place, pointing out that “the 100,000 donors were swindled and all Romanians have the right to hear answers from the Government.”
Liviu Dragnea asked the “ZERO Government” ten questions on this topic and added that as long as it is in office the Government has the duty to inform the public and offer complete answers, not political attacks characteristic of a negative campaign.
The PSD leader is asking what was the mandate of the negotiation commissions led by the Culture Minister; who are the experts who appraised the sculpture at 11 million euros, after previous appraisals had established a value of 5 million euros at most; on what was the appraisal based; who was part of the negotiation commission that accepted this price; who authorised the Culture Minister to accept the price of 11 million euros; whether the approval was given in a Government meeting.
Dragnea also wants to know why did the auction house drop out of the negotiation process, allowing a direct negotiation between the owner and the minister, which is forbidden by law; what were the legal grounds on which the payment deadline was extended to December 20; what are the provisions that modify Article 4, Paragraph 4 of Government Emergency Ordinance no.10/2016, according to which in case the Romanian state fails to secure the unencumbered ownership right by October 31, for any reasons, the sums collected through the public fundraiser will be returned to donors.
The rest of the questions raised by the PSD President are: what is the content of the official report drafted with the owners of the sculpture, an official report whose existence has been confirmed by the Government spokesperson; in case there is a legal mechanism through which the money collected so far through public fundraiser will be returned to the donors, what will be the costs and how will they be covered; in case the money will not be returned, what is their legal status, how will the funds be managed, by whom, with what costs; who authorised Minister Vlad Alexandrescu to state that in case 6 million euros will not be collected through the fundraiser the state will give up on its pre-emption right and on the basis of which legal provisions did the Premier make a similar statement; why is the Government avoiding giving answers to the good-willed Romanians who answered the call and donated money only to become the butt of jokes now and to be called “Scammed by Brancusi.”
“Do you believe that, after this fiasco, anyone will have confidence to take part in such a public subscription?” Liviu Dragnea asked.
On Saturday evening, PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on RTV that he has unconfirmed information that prosecutors have already seized documents from the Culture Ministry in relation to the purchase of Brancusi’s ‘Wisdom of the Earth’ sculpture. In response, Culture Minister Corina Suteu said that documents have not been seized from the ministry for the time being but prosecutors will “probably” show up by taking note of this topic.
Ciolos responds to Dragnea: This Gov’t doesn’t want to learn from PSD
Premier Dacian Ciolos wrote on Facebook that PSD President Liviu Dragnea should not be worried because the process of buying the ‘Wisdom of the Earth’ sculpture is continuing normally and in line with the law, because this Government knows no other way of doing things and does not want to learn from PSD. Ciolos also told Dragnea that the “Governmentbots” are working.
“While Mr. Liviu Dragnea is worried by the fate of ‘Wisdom of the Earth,’ – no worries Mr. Dragnea, the procurement process is continuing normally and in line with the law, because this Government knows no other way of doing things nor does it want to learn from PSD – the “Governmentbots” (Liviu Dragnea’s term) are working.
“In brief, dozens of IT specialists, scholarship-holders and volunteers are working hard to make the bureaucratic maze of our administration more accessible, to free the state from the captivity of some companies that closed crooked contract during the time of the PSD Government. Down below, some news on how the #GovITHub projects are making headway.
“I hope we will have the possibility to continue this manner of working in the following years too, with simple, innovative IT solutions to the benefit of people. IT systems can be developed differently than has been often done so far, when the country’s money was wasted for the sake of companies affiliated to political parties, friends and political partners who own television stations,” Dacian Ciolos wrote on Facebook.