Bribe is holding on tight in Romania despite the COVID-19 pandemic

Two men in Suceava have accused that some employees at the morgue of the Suceava hospital had asked them bribe to take their dead relatives out of the morgue, Adevarul daily reported. The money had to be put in a shoe box, probably…. to prevent the coronavirus transmission.

The relatives of those who died of coronavirus at Suceava hospital say that they faced problems when they wanted to take the bodies or even when they wanted to recover their relatives’ personal objects, such as mobile phones, ID papers or jewelry.

Vasile Costeniuc, a former policeman in Suceava, went to take the body of his dead father from the county hospital on April 4. He was in shock when a employee of the hospital’s morgue has asked him for money.

“While I was there, I was with the driver from the funeral home. The nurse from the morgue asked me what’s going on, aren’t we going to pay? I asked the driver and he told me I had to pay RON 100. I thought the money was for washing the dead body. She took a black box and I put RON 100 in it”, the former policeman recounted, adding that the nurse took the money from the box. He also accused he could not recover his father’s mobile phone.

Another local, Lucian Ciobanu, told a similar story after his mother had died of coronavirus at the county hospital. “They told us it’s a regular thing to give money. We could not oppose it under the circumstances. But we had an argument after the hospital staff had refused to give us back my mother’s phone, wallet and earrings. We only got them following repeated insistence”.

Another man, Mircea Bunescu has also confirmed he had been asked to “give something for the morgue staff”.

The’ vigilant’ mayor from Tulcea

The case is coming several days after a mayor of a village in Tulcea county has been caught while he was going to cash in the bribe himself, equipped with a protective facemask and gloves.

The mayor of Crisan village on Tulcea, in the Danube Delta area, Ilie Munteanu was caught in the act while taking RON 10,000 bribe from the representative of a construction company.

Anti-corruption prosecutors have filmed him and the footage shows that the mayor was taking all precautionary measures to prevent the infection with coronavirus, so he was wearing protective gloves and a facemask. The mayor is filmed in the car while taking the money in an envelope.

The sum was in fact the second tranche of the entire sum the mayor had asked as bribe, RON 20,000, from a construction company in order to facilitate it with a public works contract.

The mayor is member of the Social Democrat Party (PSD), and, ironically, he used to be a cop in the past.

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