A CASE BROUGHT TO THE COURTS AFTER SIX YEARS OF INVESTIGATIONSThe odyssey of the copper that disappeared on the Bucharest-Constanţa railway

English Section / 21 septembrie 2020

The odyssey of the copper that disappeared on the Bucharest-Constanţa railway

Hundreds of tons of conductive copper wire, scrapped during the works for the modernization of the railroad segment, "vanished" from the warehouses of SC Electrificare CFR SA

Some of the warehouses were unguarded, such as the one of Cernavodă Pod

Fictitious transfers between centers, approved by the management of the state-owned company

The criminal investigations conducted by the Railroad Transports Police and the prosecutors took nearly six years, before the case concerning the theft of nearly 160 tons of copper wire replaced upon the rehabilitation of the Bucureşti-Constanţa railroad segment went to court. According to some sources from CFR and the Police, the case was sent to court three months ago, in other words two years after BURSA reported about the theft committed with the complicity of the employees and management of SC Electrificare CFR SA.

Perhaps until a final ruling is rendered in that case, the criminal liability of the defendants will expire due to the statute of limitations, when it comes to the crime of causing the company a loss of 3,117,500 lei and all those involved in the case will get away scot-free.

Precisely in order to avoid that, we bring back the thread of the incidents as it follows from the documents which BURSA came in possession of and the reports from our sources within SC Electrificare CFR SA. Events which it seems also involve current PNL candidate for the mayoralty of Feteşti, Gheorghe Catrinoiu, former employee on executive positions within SC Electrificare CFR SA, when it comes to 160 tons of copper have disappeared from the warehouses of the state owned company.

In the February 20, 2019 issue we reported that between 2006 and 2009, when Ion Gavrilă was an executive in SC Electrificare CFR SA, from the Constanţa Railroad Division (Regionala CF Constanţa), 159,871 kg of electric contact copper wire disappeared, after being replaced by the companies which worked on the modernization of the Bucharest-Constanţa railroad located on the Pan-European corridor IV.

According to the address of July 7, 2017 sent by the Railroad Transport Police to the Constanţa Railroad Regional Division of CFR SA, the value of the volume of copper that disappeared from the company's warehouse amounts to 3,117,500 lei, and the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs wanted to know whether administrative research had been conducted in the case in question and whether the railroad company would enter the lawsuit as a civil joint plaintiff or not.

In the article in question we mentioned that the criminal prosecution has begun against five employees of CFR SA, and based on the documents that we had received it followed that the first note with an explanation was dated November 3rd, 2016, but one had a date of October 9, 2017, three months after the issuing of the address by the Railroad Transports Police.

The absence of a quantity of copper from the warehouses of SC Electrificare CFR SA was also the object of a civil lawsuit brought by Regionala CF Constanţa against the company led by Ion Gavrilă, as well as against parent company CFR SA. The case concerns the theft of over 40 tons of conductive copper wire from the warehouses of the Feteşti Electrification Center, between 2014-2016. The civil ruling no. 1549/2017 rendered by the County Court of Constanţa has been challenged by the Court of Appeal by the two defendants - CFR SA and SC Electrificare CFR SA, the company which was led by Ion Gavrilă last year. Through ruling no. 118/2018, the magistrates of the Constanţa Court of Appeal have forced SC Electrificare CFR SA to pay for penalties for the two invoices issued by Regionala CF Constanţa. The invoices concern the missing quantities of copper waste delivered into the custody to SC Electrificare CFR SA. The total value of the copper that disappeared from the warehouses of SC Electrificare CFR SA, according to the two invoices, was 394,846.99 lei.

On top of that there are the 3.117 million lei from the case recently brought to court.

Copper quantities "moved around" with the help of the current CEO of SC Electrificare CFR SA

Compared to the situation described one year ago, new elements have surfaced that shape up a state of facts that has not yet been analyzed by the officers of the Railroad Transports Police, nor by the prosecutors. Given that the facts happened 14 years ago, it is hard to believe that the information we are providing to the public in today's material will still constitute a ground for holding the guilty criminally liable, when taking into account that there is little time until they reach the statute of limitations.

Perhaps that is why Gheorghe Catrinoiu, the current CEO of SC Electrificare CFR SA, had no qualms about submitting his candidacy, from the PNL, for a new term as mayor (the third) of the town of Feteşti, county of Ialomiţa.

According to our sources and the documents presented to BURSA, between 2006 and 2008, meaning before getting his first term as mayor of Feteşti (which he renewed in 2012), more specifically when Gheorghe Catrinoiu was a head of division and then Head of Branch at SC Electrificare CFR SA, he issued a decision that a large volume of copper be sent for storage to a warehouse in the Port of Constanţa.

"More specifically, 20 tons of copper wire, which stayed in a guarded warehouse with bars on the windows, for several years, until it was found out and it was decided that the copper be removed from the records of SC Electrificare CFR SA. According to the documents, the volume of copper in question was sent there by Gheorghe Catrinoiu who signed those deeds on behalf of other individuals. Even today, the reasons for moving that quantity of copper from the Feteşti warehouse all the way to the Port of Constanţa are unknown. What is certain is that, according to our information, after a good number of years, Gheorghe Catrinoiu tried to find out whether the problem had been dealt with and whether that quantity of copper had been removed from the records of SC Electrificare CFR SA", our sources within the company told us.

According to our sources, it seems that aside from that quantity of copper, there was another one, which "vanished", and which had false paperwork about its transfer between the centers of Medgidia and Lehliu later drawn up for.

"Everyone in the company knows that in Medgidia there was no warehouse for the copper wire removed from the Bucharest-Constanţa railroad. Therefore, even if that paperwork was drawn up, in reality the transfer of the copper between the two centers could not have happened", the quoted sources told us.

When asked whether Gheorghe Catrinoiu was summoned by the investigation entities which were researching the copper theft in two cases, to provide explanations, the quoted sources told us that he was not even summoned by the management of the state-owned company to provide details concerning the "Copper" operation which was executed at his command.

Viorel Cazacu, promoted instead of being demoted

What is certain is that, when the Police and the Prosecutors' Office began investigating the two cases concerning the copper theft from the Bucharest-Constanţa railroad segment, the persons in charge working on the recording of those volumes of copper were either retired or laid off by the management of SC Electrificare CFR SA, because Ion Gavrilă and his accomplices wanted to present a different picture and keep the criminal events that happened under their management under wraps.

Our sources also claim that a telling fact in that regard is the promotion of one of the defendants - Viorel Cazacu, who at one time the management of SC Electrificare CFR SA even wanted to appoint as deputy head of the Feteşti center. The quoted sources also claim that the heads of Electrificare CFR SA changed their mind concerning Cazacu, to avoid raising suspicions on that manner of reward for actions that were being looked into by criminal investigators, and moved him from Lehliu - the place tens of tons of copper disappeared from, under his watch - and made him head of district at Ciulniţa. Basically, the man from whose "parish" huge quantities of copper disappeared, is currently on stand-by as center deputy director in Feteşti, awaiting for the ruling of the court in relation to the facts recorded by prosecutors and the police.

"Viorel Cazacu cannot do anything to exonerate himself from the theft from the center of Lehliu of the huge volume of conductive copper wire. We are talking about several huge rolls that couldn't just disappear completely, just like that, over night, from the yard, without the head of the warehouse in question not noticing", our sources from SC Electrificare CFR SA said.

Unguarded warehouse, materials that disappeared from the records as well as physically

The situation of the theft of copper from the Bucharest-Constanţa railroad segment seems to be more serious than the audit state authorities have uncovered, and the case may involve a much greater volume of copper than the 160 tons which appear in the case that was recently taken to court.

According to the documents obtained by BURSA, part of the materials originating from the disassembly of the tangible fixed assets subject to modernization on the IV Paneuropean 4th Corridor was sent to the warehouse of Cernavodă Pod. According to information from a note drawn up by engineer Dan Tudorache, head of S.E. Constanţa, it follows that the warehouse in question did not have security and that on October 7, 2010 - according to the movement ticket - a quantity of over 10 tons of iron was recovered, which was then stored in Feteşti and which allegedly belonged to the Ciulniţa district. There are no mentions at all about the remaining quantities of materials, including the copper wire quantities deposited in Cernavodă Pod, but the end of the note suggests that other materials that "vanished" had been stored there as well.

Here are the directions sent by engineer Dan Tudorache in the note in question:

"In the scrapping brief which will be concluded as per the provisions of Government Decision 472/2009, only this recovered quantity of Iron will be processed. The other minutes will be disregarded, as this warehouse will be considered closed".

The mention of other minutes means that other materials were stored at Cernavodă Pod as well, which were never recovered and which were not the objects of any internal investigations at SC Electrificare CFR SA, the choice being to cover everything up instead. Because that is what things have worked like and and still do in these state owned companies, which would require the beginning of a large-scale audit, both by the Audit And Anti-Corruption Body of the Ministry of Transports, as well as by the Police and the Prosecutors' Office.

Gheorghe Catrinoiu, the CEO of SC Electrificare CFR SA, says that he had nothing to do with the disappearance of the quantities of copper which resulted from the modernization of the Bucureşti-Constanţa railroad.

Contacted by BURSA, Gheorghe Catrinoiu stated: "I can't confirm the information in the material. I am not familiar with this issue. I heard it's a pending case, but nothing has happened since I've been in charge of the company. I don't think that the copper from the Port of Constanţa was misplaced. There is a case pending before the courts in Constanţa that will be resolved and will reveal what happened. Ask the people in Constanţa for more information."

Cotaţii Internaţionale

vezi aici mai multe cotaţii

Bursa Construcţiilor