Timisoara City Hall Project Center, Scandal Financing. The experts who evaluated the requests accused each of them of agreeing to the other’s requests

The Timisoara City Hall project center has been embroiled in a huge scandal. This is after the experts who evaluated the applications under the “Culture for the Present” call were accused of approving the projects submitted by each other. In this case, the Court of Accounts, DNA and ANI were also notified. Mayor Fritz, on the other hand, says he has no doubts about how the funding will be approved.

The Timisoara City Hall has earmarked three million lei for the “Culture for the Present” funding appeal. These funds were distributed to 34 projects, at the end of last month, through the Projects Center. However, immediately after the results were presented, the first scandals began. Specifically, not a few people were outraged by the fact that the International Literature Festival was skipped.

Later, information appeared in the public space about the fact that the experts who evaluated the applications financed the cultural projects submitted by each other. More precisely, according to infotimisoara.ro, Ovidiu Andriș, appointed by Fritz’s management as interim director at Banatul Philharmonic, has a €15,000 project approved in one commission, while he is appraised in another. Dana Sarmi, director of the Cultural Contrassens Association, is in residence on one committee, but has three approved projects, with a total value of €60,000, on other committees. Also, Tudorița Soldănescu, resident in one committee, has a project approved in another committee. In the same situation, Elisabetta Varga-Piatic, co-founder of the Cultural Film Association, with a €15,000 project approved in one committee, and resident in another.

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After the scandal, Radu Țoancă, a local PSD advisor, announced that an employee of Timișoara City Hall had reported to the Court of Accounts, DNA and ANI, for checks at the project center.

Court of Accounts, DNA and ANI – Notified in the case of the Timisoara Project Center. The starvation of new people is wreaking havoc on public money. (…) In my opinion, the 5 Committee of the Timisoara Local Council, which is the specialized body in these areas, should have the final say in the allocation of public funds, and not some “independent” residents, many of whom are well-known unknowns, advantages they are sure that They have some ideological sympathies and inclinations. (…) It was clear to everyone that sooner or later the insatiable appetite of NGOs for public money would lead to an illegal slip, with recent journalistic investigations only the beginning of problems for those confusing the local budget with their own pocket. The information that comes to us from the project center area is from the night of the mind: attempts to purchase cars, proposals to increase the number of employees through a new organizational scheme, etc. All these aspects will be the subject of specialized controls and investigations, especially since yesterday, Mrs. Mirella Toke, civil servant of PMT, DNA, ANI and the Court of Accounts on these issues. The inspectors of the Timich Court of Accounts are already at PMT on objective control and after public disclosure they are likely to stop at Vasile Alecsandri Street No. 1, at the center’s headquarters. As for the confidence that these cultural “progressives” inspire in Timisoara, the European Capital of Culture in 2023, I think it is pointless to talk about it.Said Radu Chuanku.

On the other hand, Dominic Fritz, mayor of Timisoara, says he has no doubts about the transparent way in which funding has been allocated through the project centre.

It is very important for us to have a system of non-reimbursable financing that focuses on the good practices that exist. We have largely received the system from AFCN (National Cultural Fund Administration Number). The Project Center has come up with a very detailed description of this process and it is very important to understand that these committees and evaluators are confidential. The evaluators do not know who the evaluators are in the other departments. I think that we, as residents of Timisoara, have to decide whether we want those involved in the culture of Timisoara to participate in the judging process or if we want to avoid any doubt and rely only on residents outside the city. I have no reason to be skeptical about this funding process at the moment. It seems natural to me to try to involve the cultural people of the city and to make this process more transparent. It’s a new system that hasn’t really been implemented before, so far the funding has been given behind closed doors, no one knows based on what, often there were no calls, it was simply from the mayor’s pen or funding was given to the deputy mayor or on the basis of a political decision. I think it is important to move to a new and more modern systemDominic Fritz explained at a press conference on Tuesday.

However, a journalist warned the mayor that there is a rule in the AFCN that in the year when an NGO representative is assessed, he cannot submit projects to any department to receive funding.

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