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Corruption prosecutors continue investigation of 12 people in overvalued property reimbursement cases

Prosecutors with the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) have ordered a continuation in the criminal investigation of 12 people, including former chair of the Central Board on Reimbursements with the National Property Returning Authority (ANRP) Gianina Ancuta Opre in a court file regarding the award of overvalued reimbursements for three plots of land.

In a press statement released on Thursday, DNA says Gianina Ancuta Opre, as board Chair, as well as then board members Horia Georgescu, Cristian Morarescu, Rodica Constantinovici, Remus Virgil Baciu and Lacramioara Alexandru, are being investigated for repeat abuse of office when a public servant obtains ill-gotten gains for self or others while generating very serious consequences.

Also investigated in connection with the same offence are Nicolae Pricop, back then a member on the Central Board on Property Reimbursements, while board-selected property valuators Mihai Papasteri, Emil Nutiu and Gheorghe Vita, as well as Mihai Rotaru and Diana Le Bomin, assignors of contested property deeds, are being investigating as accessories.

“On September 3 and 29, suspect Opre Gianina Ancuta, in her capacity as chair of the Central Board on Property Reimbursements (…), together with the other suspects – all member on the same board – abusively discharging their office duties by breaching the law, approved, in three reimbursement files, evaluation reports under which three plots of land (4.93 ha, 3.48 ha and 2.32 ha) located in the city of Bistrita were valued at 47,370,400 lei, 29,507,700 lei and 21,356,700 lei, respectively (98,234,800 lei in all), which were awarded as reimbursements to suspects Mihai, Le Bomin Diana and to another person, all recipients of contested rights,” DNA explains.

The three plots of land are allegedly said to have been overvalued by suspects Vita, Papasteri and Nutiu as designated evaluators by 39,475,330 lei, 24,006,584 lei and 14,929,906 lei respectively. The total sum of 78,411,820 lei is seen as damage incurred on the national budget while at the same time the recipients of the money also gained unlawful property advantages.

“The three property evaluators drew up their reports in breach of legal provisions in force and the International Valuation Standards by selecting uncompliant comparable land (failing to compare similar plots), some of which made available by the suspects themselves – which were the recipients of the reimbursements – by considering the location of property against the indications of the beneficiaries only, without conducting the necessary checks of real estate transaction information that should have been requested from the officials and organisations specifically mentioned to this end in the law,” says DNA.

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