By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
Radu Mazare, the influential social-democrat mayor of Constanta, the second largest city in Romania lying on the Black Sea coast, alleged he had been tipped that a group of businessmen are preparing to eliminate him on the Easter holiday the mayor is planning to spend in Madagascar following the city hall’s firm grip of activities in the seaport.
The mayor sustains the alleged murder plans have been sparked by the businessmen’s fury over the city hall getting more shares in the Constanta Seaport Administration. “This thing about decentralizing the port is producing a lot of atrial flutter that I have received information that people have been hired to leave for Madagascar at the same time with me with a view to physically eliminate me” Mazare said as quoted by the state news-wire Agerpres. He said he had informed his close aides about the people who seek to murder him in case something does happen to him.
“I cannot say which of the millionaires in the port hired people for something like that because I do not want to point fingers over nothing. But I want to launch an alarm call that I know about it. If this happens, then things will come clean” the mayor said at the end of a local council meeting. Mazare disclosed though that his alleged hit-men would travel “through Cape Town”.
His Easter holiday plans will go on despite the news, Mazare pointed out, but he underlined he would take extra-security measures. “I am not goofy” he said, adding he may seek the help of the Romanian secret services. A few thousand dollars would have been paid to the hit-men, he went on.
But today, anti-corruption prosecutors searched the seat of the Constanta city hall and Mazare’s house in a case in which the mayor is suspected of corruption in a social housing contract. The searches today, which Mazare said extended to his relatives as well, come amid an anti-corruption offensive against the so-called “local barons” of the ruling social-democrat party led by PM Victor Ponta. Eight heads of county councils, including Nicusor Constantinescu, president of the Constanta County Council and a close friend of Mazare, are now under criminal investigation for corruption, many of them even being arrested. Ponta implied the anti-corruption drive is politically motivated, but fell short of overtly criticizing the prosecutors for fear of EU which has kept a close eye on the politics’ influence over justice.