Moldovan Agriculture Minister Dismissed After Arrest On Corruption Charges

Moldovan President Igor Dodon dismissed Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Eduard Grama on March 20, citing suspected corruption.

"I expect such initiatives in the nearest future. There are still very many corrupt officials in the government," Dodon wrote on his Facebook page.

Moldova's Prime Minister Pavel Filip had asked Dodon last week to approve the suspension of Grama, who has been detained as a suspect in a scheme to illegally expropriate state-owned vineyards and buildings.

Grama has denied any wrongdoing.

Anticorruption prosecutors say more than a dozen people are suspected of involvement in a scheme to illegally lease land and buildings owned by the National College of Viticulture and Winemaking.

Prosecutors arrested 12 people in the case last year.

Moldova is one of the top producers of wine in the former Soviet Union. Some 70 percent of its wine exports went to the European Union last year.

The former Russian market dried up after Moscow banned imports of Moldovan wine, fruit, and some vegetables in 2014, shortly after Moldova signed an association agreement with the EU.

Based on reporting by AP and TASS