Independent Center for the Development of Environmental Resources
Independent Center for Environmental Protection Sebes
Joint Press Release
20 March 2009
Director of Alba EPA already replaced due to conflict of interest with Kronospan Sebes
Sebes/Alba County/Romania, 20 March 2009 – The Alba County Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now managed by an interim Executive Director nominated by the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA). This change is a result of the Alba Court of Appeal’s recent ruling (1) which confirmed that the Alba EPA’s director Mr Vasile Todea’s had a conflict of interest with Kronospan Sebes, a company that is part of the multinational Kronospan Group. The ruling establishes an important legal precedent. According to the Alba Iulia Court of Appeal: “In his role as EPA-Alba’s executive director, Mr Vasile Todea was called to take decisions on SC Kronospan SA, a notorious company with notorious environmental problems but which also had commercial, profit-making ties with SC Luxor LTD, a company owned Mr Vasile Todea and administered by his wife. This situation created an evident conflict of interest.”
Kronospan Romania is the largest producer of wood based panels in South-Eastern Europe and a branch of the multi-national company Kronospan. In Romania SC Kronospan is operating in 3 different locations: Sebes, Brasov and Constanta. SC Kronospan’s activities in Sebes and Brasov gravely violate applicable legislation on environmental and construction permits, and have caused significant negative impacts on the health of local people and the environment, due to the emission of toxic substances used for the production of the wood panels (in particular formaldehyde).
In order to carry out its industrial activities in the town of Sebes, Kronospan has been involved in several environmental licensing procedures with EPA-Alba when it was under the direction of Mr Vasile Todea. In his role as a public servant Mr Todea was bound by the provisions of Law 161/2003 on anti-corruption measures. However, whilst he was the executive director of the EPA-Alba, Mr Vasile Todea was at the same time the sole owner of S.C. Luxor Ltd. SRL, a company which builds and maintains green spaces. SC Luxor Ltd. SRL had a service contract with Kronospan for maintaining particular green spaces in the town of Sebes.
By taking Decision No.585 of 18.07.2008 the NEPA dismissed Mr Vasile Todea from his role as director of EPA-Alba, reasoning that he had a conflict of interest with Kronospan. Mr Vasile Todea appealed the decision at the Alba Court of Appeal. His appeal was rejected in the above mentioned ruling (1).
The ruling will almost certainly be appealed at Romania’s Supreme Court but for the time being an interim director of the Alba EPA has replaced Mr Vasile Todea until the case has been finally settled.
The Independent Centre for Environmental Protection at Sebes (ICEP Sebes) intervened in the case to support the NEPA. ICEP Sebes will continue to do support the legality of the NEPA’s decision to dismiss Mr Vasile Todea, including at the Supreme Court level.
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(1) Ruling 64/F/CA/2009 of File 1352.1/57/2008 publicly released on 3 March 2009