Nursing homes scandal: Heads of National Social Inspection bodies dismissed

The president of the National Authority for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Mihai Tomescu, and the vice-president of the institution, Adela Crăciun, were dismissed from their positions. The decisions are to be published on Monday in the Official Gazette, reports Cristina Elena Anton, the general director of the National Agency for Payments and Social Inspection (ANPIS), was also dismissed. In the case of AJPIS Ilfov, a disciplinary commission was established to analyze the way in which the officials of the institution managed the case of nursing homes.

Mihai Tomescu, the president of the National Authority for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, wrote on Friday about his resignation. “My dears, today I took note of the Prime Minister’s decision to be removed from the position of ANPDPD president. I consider myself a worthy person and a professional and I do not want to comment on this decision. For me, this position was not a sinecure and I have no political stake. All I did was to support people with disabilities and put an institution back on its feet that has suffered so much over the years. There have been at least five successive reorganizations or dissolutions of this institution in the last ten years, a fact that is also reflected in the quality of social policies in this field. Related to the tragic situation and what happened in the social services appearing in the public space these days, I want to tell you that the monsters who had these behaviors towards people with disabilities must bear the consequences of the law. I assure you, however, that all our control and monitoring actions were carried out professionally and by teams made up of people of high moral quality. I thank you for all the support and I embrace the community of people with disabilities in Romania”, read Tomescu’s Facebook post.

Besides the President of the Authority, the vice-president of the institution, Adela Crăciun, was also dismissed.

Another decision of the Minister of Labor was the dismissal of the general director of the National Agency for Payments and Social Inspection (ANPIS), Cristina Elena Anton.

In the case of AJPIS Ilfov, a disciplinary committee was set up to analyze how they handled the nursing home case. Because they are civil servants hired on a competitive basis, they cannot be dismissed without a commission, said sources from the Ministry of Labor.

Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu called for resignations and dismissals following the “asylums of horror” scandal. “It shows us that we are dealing with a fundamental problem, a corrupt and inert system,” the PSD leader also said.

The Head of the Executive said that the priority will be the verification and reanalysis of authorizations at all centers for children, the elderly and persons with disabilities and requested the Minister of Justice to resolve these cases as a matter of priority.

At the same time, starting from Monday, the Minister of Labor will start discussions with the representatives of the cults so that they get involved in supporting and helping these vulnerable people.

Moreover, a prominent Social Democrat member, former EC Commissioner, PSD MEP Corina Creţu, launched an attack against Florentin Pandele, mayor of Voluntari and his wife, Gabriela Firea, the former mayor of Bucharest, accusing them that it is impossible to not have known about these nursing homes, as they were located in Voluntari, and with people close to Pandele – Firea family managing them.

Cretu said that what happened in those asylums of horror could not have been done without political “support”, “perhaps cross-party”. At the same time, she emphasized that she was friends with Florentin Pandele, the mayor of Voluntari, and the Minister of the Family, Gabriela Firea, but “you can’t say that you don’t really know anything”.

“As the prime minister said, it’s not about two or three people who agreed to make a buck off some bitter old people, it’s about a whole system and this whole system, in my opinion, because we live in Romania and somehow it has already entered the collective mind that some officials cannot do such things without being somehow politically covered, and here I think that things must be taken to the end. (…) All these things, somehow, took place under the eyes of people who maybe could have changed things and I wonder how those people can sleep peacefully”, said Corina Crețu on Sunday at Prima  TV.

Cretu also  she confessed that she knows “cases of people who are afraid to speak in Romania”, referring to the fact that “everyone knows that nothing happens there without Mr. Pandele’s knowledge”.

Meanwhile, both Pandele and Firea denies their involvement, denouncing there is a denigration campaign against them. Moreover, Firea lashed out against the spokesperson of the Romanian Orthodox Church, who had criticized her and her husband in the elderly nursing homes case. Firea also slammed mass media, threatening she will sue all the “hashtag resist television and publications” who accused her in the horror asylum scandal.

Currently Minister of the Family, Gabriela Firea, who claims that she is the victim of a smear campaign led by USR and their supporters against her in the scandal regarding the asylums of horror in Voluntari and Afumați, defending herself with fluvial messages posted on Facebook, says that she and her family will sue “all those televisions and publications that disseminated fake news” about the alleged connections of his sister and her friend, Ligia Gheorghe, with the centers where the unimaginable abuses took place.

“To claim that I have done good all my life, together with my husband, to paint us as heartless people, both me and my husband, a very well organized and financed campaign, is a lot. I saw that the BOR (e.n. Romanian Orthodox Church) spokesperson came out and stated that he was doing it on his own behalf. Are we now to be ashamed of wearing a crucifix and swearing on the Bible? Because you know we had USR ministers who didn’t touch the Bible.  If any fault, however small, is found on me, I leave all public offices, and I, and my husband, and all those around me”, Firea said.

“I have prepared all the evidence and we will act in court, both me and my family, all those televisions and publications that disseminated fake news, that my sister worked in those asylums, and so did my friend, or that I should I quit.We have to go to court, because you know that a few months ago it was said that they were paving the way for child trafficking from Romania, now they are saying that they are harming the elderly, then who knows what other such campaigns they will invent“, she added.

However, the owner of these nursing homes, Ștefan Godei, former driver of Pandele, led the “Saint Gabriel the Brave” Association, through which he controlled the business through which he starved people to make a huge profit, where Gabriela Firea’s adviser, Ligia Gheorghe (formerly Enache), was the vice-president.  Godei was arrested for 30 days.
New details from the arrest report that led to the leader of the group that subjected dozens of people to inhumane treatments in the asylums in Ilfov revealed that Ștefan Godei spent the huge profits made from the nursing homes on prostitutes, drugs and violinists, spending 5,000 euros in one night.

3.7 million lei was won by Ștefan Godei from the “asylums of horror”, the man who controlled the association “Saint Gabriel the Brave” targeted by the investigation, under whose coordination the elderly and disabled people were beaten, left hungry, with worms, in unimaginable misery.

According to the minutes of the criminal investigation bodies from 22.06.2023, data also emerged according to which Godei Ștefan Cristian has significant sums of money which he spends to periodically call on the services of prostitutes, to procure drugs or amounts on who offers them for fiddling, meaning that according to the discussions he had on the evening of 26-27.05.2023, he spent the sum of 25,000 lei for a single such series of entertainments, in one night,” the prosecutors’ report states.

The Directorates of Social Assistance, including those in Ilfov, Sector 3 and Sector 6, were extorted from almost 4 million lei, money that should have been used for the care and food of the beneficiaries in the centers they controlled, but the prosecutors established that people endured unimaginable conditions.

Moreover, DIICOT prosecutors say that the wiretaps revealed that, Gheorghe Pleșa, a social worker, known in this industry, would have helped and advised Ștefan Godei, one of the leaders of the two criminal groups and president of the association that owned the asylums of horror, what to do in order to obtain the operating licenses of the centers , even if they did not meet the operating conditions.

Cristina Elena AntondismissedelderlyFloretin PandeleGabriela CretuGabriela FireaheadMihai TomescuNational Authority for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilitiesnursing homesscandalthe general director of the National Agency for Payments and Social Inspection (ANPIS)Voluntari
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