Deputy Valeriu Plesca has been appointed defence minister by presidential decree. Plesca replaced Victor Gaiciuc who was dismissed several months ago following the theft of a large amount of arms and munitions from the National Army warehouse in Bulboaca in late August.

Valeriu Plesca, 46, graduated from the State University of Moldova (lawyer) and the Academy of Economic Studies. He has been in business since 1990 heading the Gloria V&A company which was involved in importing petrol. Plesca was elected to parliament in 1998 on the ticket of the Alliance for Democracy and Reforms and in 2001 as a member of the Braghis Alliance.

In February 2003 he was excluded from the Braghis Alliance faction and became an independent deputy. He was also the deputy chairman of the parliamentary commission for rules and immunities.

Source: Infotag news agency, Chisinau, 28 Dec 04

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