The company had for years as an official the current member of REPER – the new political party founded by the fugitive president of USR Dacian Ciolos – and carried out contracts with the state, including during the PSD government led by Victor Ponta or Livio Dragnia.
The story begins on December 5, 2021, when the National Prison Service put forward a contract for expert services to evaluate the educational programs, psychological assistance, and social assistance that exist in the prison system, evaluate the evaluation tools for detainees, used by the prison system, as well as develop new social reintegration programs and support training services for professionals Who will implement these new programmes. The context of the procurement, according to the contracting authority, is illustrated by the existence of a project called “reformist”.
This project has been implemented since August 30, 2019, when the National Prison Administration signed a financing contract, No. 1/69989, funded by the “Justice” program, within the Norwegian financial mechanism 2014-2-21, with a total budget of 31 million euros.
According to the ANP, the overall goal of this “reform” project is to improve the capacity of the Romanian correctional system (both prison and probation) to provide reintegration services to convicted and delinquent persons – detainees, persons under probation, and ex-detainees. – By implementing a Norwegian principle called “seamless”, but also by investing in human capital development.
I announce that only two offers have been accepted
For this expertise and evaluation services, the National Prison Administration put to the test an estimated budget of 1,362,367.61 lei without VAT, and many economic entities signed up for the organized auction. According to the procurement form, only two accepted offers were received and two others were declared non-compliant. Among these was an economic operator based in another EU country.
The acquisition of the services was completed on July 14, 2022, when two companies were declared winners. These two companies are SC Civitta Strategy & Consulting SA and SC Smart Integration SRL, which collided with the National Prison Administration for 1,178,000 lei without VAT. On the same day, the contract no. 37130/2022 with a total final value of 1,401,820 lei including VAT.
Who are the beneficiaries of the project?
From the specification that formed the basis of this acquisition, we find that the “correctional” project is already 56 months old and will be implemented in a complex partnership, with the National Prison Administration as the project leader, together with the National Directorate of Probation, Baia Mare Prison, Potoshani Prison, Vaslui Prison , Târgu Morey Prison, Târgu Okna National School for Training Prison Agents, as well as five entities from Norway. These are the Norwegian Correctional Academy – KRUS, Halden Prison, Stavanger Prison, Rogaland Probation Office, Ostfold Probation Office and Ravenberget Prison.
From the same document we find out, in general, what exactly should be checked and evaluated by the selected companies. Thus, the educational programs in question are structural areas using psycho-educational techniques that address all detainees, and their content covers literacy, civic education, family life, health, general culture, morals and religion or physical education and sports.
Psychological assistance programs are directed, in particular, to certain persons deprived of their liberty, “depending on the specific risks and needs – mental illness, risk of vulnerability, risk of suicide, difficulties in managing aggression, disorders of sexual drive”.
Social assistance programs aim at training, development, practice of social and parenting skills, decision-making, relationship with the support environment, and prevention of family conflicts.
Business on public money, regardless of the political color of the government
The first two companies that will provide this expertise and assessment services to ANP are the famous SC Civitta Strategy & Consulting SA, on its old name GEA Strategy & Consulting SA, a firm founded by former Liberal Prime Minister Florin Coe, along with current USR Dragoș MEP Nicolae Pîslaru, rapporteur Participant of the European Parliament on the implementation of the PNRR.
Pîslaru controlled the company for years, temporarily relinquishing his managerial capacity, during his time as Minister of Labour, in the Cioloș government. According to data provided by the Commercial Registry, in March 2019, the Estonian investment group Civitta International OU, which acquired the company, changed its name, owned 98% of the shares, and Dragoș Pîslaru still controls 0.5%. Other shareholders are Carmen Veronica Maric, Ioana Ivanov and Denisa Scutario, all three former partners of Pîslaru are still present as shareholders of SC Civitta Strategy & Consulting SA. And Silvia Elena Urso took the place of Drago Buslaro.
Drago Buslaro had a more than interesting political path, starting in 2015. He was a technocrat, at first a state advisor in the Chancellery of Dacian Siolo, and later became Minister of Labor. When Cioloș created the Romania 100 platform, Pîslaru was a member of the entity’s board of directors. Subsequently, when Dacian Cioloș took over the management of the PLUS party, Pîslaru became one of the most important members of the party. In the 2019 European Parliament elections, Dragoș Pîslaru ran for the USR-PLUS lists. He was also part of the negotiating team for the formation of the Cîțu government. And after Dacian Siolo resigned from the leadership of the USSR, Drago Buslaro followed him in a new political adventure called REPER (see facsimile).
From Dragnea to Ciucă
Journalol has written several surveys about the public money business carried out by the company founded by Florin Ko himself and controlled, in recent years, by Drago Buslaro. A number of these actions were carried out during PSD governments, including with state institutions run by political figures insulted by the electoral supporters of the company’s founders, such as Teleorman County Council, during the Liviu Dragnia period, or Slatina City Hall, at the time by Darius Falkoff.
But things did not stop there, SC Civitta Strategy & Consulting SA continued these practices under the PNL government, in the 2020 pandemic year, but also under the PNL – USR-PLUS – UDMR government, which was installed after the December 2020 parliamentary elections. Such a deal was concluded last year, in case of emergency, with the Ministry of European Funds, amounting to one million euros.
The second government institution that has used the services of this company, but during the current executive term, is the Ministry of Public Works, Development and Administration, which is subordinate to Minister Czeke Attila and coordinated by UDMR Deputy Prime Minister Clement Honore.
But the period from 2020 to 2021 means not only contracts with the government for this company, but also with other local or central institutions, such as the Buzau Provincial Council, the Braila Provincial Council, the Romanian Court of Accounts, the Ministry of European Funds, Sector 2 City Hall or the Ministry of Justice.
Civitta’s contract fellow also works with the state
SC Smart Integration SRL, Civitta Strategy & Consulting partner in this contact, was founded on August 23, 2010, by Florentine Claudio Avedani, born in Mărășeti, Francia Province, who also serves as the sole administrator of the company. The company, at the time of incorporation, was engaged in business and management consulting activities.
Journalol also identified a business with the state that this company carried out with a state enterprise, led by the then-famous Daniel Konstantin, the former co-chairman of ALDE, and currently the deputy of the PNL. It is related to the Ministry of Environment, which, in February 2017, completed a project started during the Cioloș government which, according to the basic documents of this project, should be implemented by December 31, 2016 at the latest.
Work began on July 11, 2016 in connection with the contract with the Ministry of Environment for the organization of events and seminars, as well as the development of promotional materials for the project “Vocational Training for Employees of the Competent Authorities to Protect the Environment, on the “Environmental Impact Assessment for the period 2014-2020”.
One of the ex-employees of this company is Adrian Viorel Diaconu, a consultant in the Information Technology Department of the Ministry of Justice. He submitted, on January 16, 2017, a fortune declaration which resulted in him having received, in the previous year, 2,000 lei from SC Smart Integration SRL, as an ICT expert.