Alina Bica’s case and its tenebrous ramifications: ICCJ orders 30-day remand in custody for ex-DIICOT chief prosecutor

The High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ)  on Saturday ordered a 30-day remand in custody for former chief prosecutor of the Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) Alina Bica, in a case where she is accused of abuse in office. Specifically, Bica is accused of having approved, while serving as Secretary of State with the Ministry of Justice and sitting in the Central Compensation Commission of the National Agency for Property Restitution (ANRP), the grant of excessive compensation to a businessman for a land plot of 13.0535 hectares in Bucharest – Plumbuita neighborhood. On March 15, 2011, the ANRP Commission approved an evaluation report by an expert assessor, disregarding the fact that the expert had overpriced the plot from the real value of 113,954,741 lei to 377,282,300 lei (the price of an equal size plot in the center of the Capital), argue the prosecutors of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) in their indictment report. DNA argues that the flawed fulfillment of responsibilities by the Central Compensation Commission caused the Romanian state a prejudice of 263.3 ml lei, the equivalent of over 62.5 million euros resulting from the overpricing of the property and the collecting of undue benefits by the beneficiaries of the rights under litigation. Alina Bica on Saturday turned herself in at the arrest of the Bucharest Police. The Supreme Court’s decision is not final but is enforceable at once.

The prosecutors’ section of the Supreme Council of Magistracy (CSM) approved on Friday the preventive detention of Alina Bica, the chief prosecutor of the Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT). The National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) has opened a criminal investigation on Bica for abuse in office  concerning an illegal compensation made by a Committee of which the current DIICOT chief prosecutor DICOT was part. Bica is a former state secretary of the Ministry of Justice and member of the Central Committee for Damages of the National Agency for the Restitution of Properties (ANRP). She is accused of abuse in office resulting in illegal benefits for the culprit or for a third party.DNA prosecutors had taken into custody Bica for 24 hours on Thursday night. CSM initially approved only her placement under house arrest, but reconsidered its decision on Friday following a renewed request of the DNA.CSM’s approval was a necessary step before the High Court of Cassation and Justice  decides on the arresting. In the same file, anticorruption prosecutors took criminal action and also detained Dragos Bogdan and  Lăcrămioara Alexandru for 24 hours. The three are accused of abuse in office after Central Compensation Commission within ANRP, of which they were part, of granting  an overestimated financial compensation for a land plot.In 2010, Stelian George, a real estate businessman, asked the Central Committee to receive cash compensation in exchange for the 13 hecatares of land that he would be held in Bucharest, where now is the Plumbuita park. The request came on the table of ANPR Committee. Among them: Alina Bica, Lăcrămioara Alexandru, Dragos Bogdan, Ionut Diacomatu and Marko Attila. They asked an expert appraiser, Emil Nuţiu, to determine the land value. The answer: 377 million lei (85 million eur), while, prosecutors say, the real value was 114 million lei (25 million eur). Although they  knew the real value of the land, the committee members, including Alin Bica, had endorsed this huge compensation. The difference of 60 million, is now considered, the prejudice in the file.  Friday, DNA asked  the arrest of Marko Atilla, UDMR deputy, who was also part of the committee.

Alina Bica resigns as DIICOT head

Alina Bica, remanded in custody in the case for a land overestimated compensation by more than 60 million, has resigned as DIICOT head, and as prosecutor of the Directorate, official sources told Mediafax..The resignation was written Friday and lodged with the Chief Prosecutor of Romania, Tiberiu Nitu, added the same source. Also Friday, Niţu stated that if Alina Bica will not resign, he, as the General Prosecutor of ICCJ,will  review and request her revocation from the DIICOT leadership. Asked then who will lead DIICOT in next period, Tiberiu Nitu said that, first, the leadership will be provided by the Department deputy chief prosecutor being  appointed at the proposal of the then interim Minister of Justice, Prime Minister Victor Ponta. In September 2012, her name was circulated for the general prosecutor appointment. At that time, the press has published an intercepted telephone conversation that she had had with the former head of the National Fiscal Administration (ANAF), Sorin Blejnar, discussion in which Bica  wanted to find out details about a position in ANAF one of her close persons was about to take over.

 

Kovesi: Bica’s file was not opened because of a personal or institutional conflict

The chief prosecutor of DNA, Codruţa Kovesi said Friday about the case in which Alina Bica, the DIICOT head was detained, that this  is not the result of a personal or institutional conflict. She stressed that DNA is not in competition with any other state institution, reported Mediafax. “Given that speculations have emerged sin the public space, I want to make a very clear and very firm statement : National Anticorruption Directorate has in investigation corruption offenses that are committed by magistrates, is an exclusive competence. This case was not opened as a result of personal or institutional conflict, DNA is not in conflict with any of the institutions. On the contrary, we have a very good institutional collaboration both with DIICOT and with other structures of the Public Ministry, “said Kovesi, out of headquarters of the Supreme Council Magistracy (CSM) after meeting of the Department of prosecutors that nodded Alina Bica’s preventive arrest. Kovesi stressed that DNA and DICOT do not “compete” and where a magistrate is suspected in a file, it should not be thrown  a “collective guilt over the whole institution.” “We are not competing structures, we are i structures that work very well at institutional level. I would like to say that when incidents of this kind, when magistrates are suspected to have committed various acts of misconduct, this does not mean someone has to throw a collective guilt on the whole institution. Both in DNA and  DIICOT we had situations like this. I can tell you that also  DNA had such cases of prosecutors who were suspected and arrested for corruption and this does not mean that the whole institution is to blame. Neither DNA nor DIICOT don’t mean a person. There  are two institutions. The fact that a prosecutor DIICOT is suspected of corruption does not mean that everybody in DIiCOT committed such acts, “concluded the DNA Chief.

Ongoing President Traian Basescu: “No one is above the law, not even me”

Incumbent President Traian Basescu asked Friday what he thought about the retention of the DIICOT chief prosecutor, Alina Bica, stated that no one is above the law, not even the person of the President. “No one is above the law. Nobody, not even me, “said Basescu.

Udrea denies having any involvement in the overestimated restitution file

Elena Udrea said in a post on Facebook on Saturday, given the name of her former husband, Dorin Cocos that appears in the DIICOT head file, that she hasn’t any involvement in the  overstated restitution case and that she never spoke with Alina Bica about her work to ANRP, informs Mediafax. “I don’t know anything about the overstated restitution case in which would be involved Ms. Alina Bica and my ex-husband, Dorin Cocos. I have no connection with this issue and any involvement in the case. The friendship relationship that I have with Ms. Alina Bica is of public knowledge, I have never kept it hidden, and it started as a result of our collaboration in the government that we both were part of, “writes Udrea. People’s Movement Party (PMP)  President wishes to state, “seeing that it was speculated on the idea of ” Alina Bica ‘s nomination in the  ANRP commission”, that she “represented there the Ministry of Justice as a result of the law.” “I mention that I never talked to Mrs. Bica about her work at ANRP, neither when she was there, nor even after she left this commission. Moreover, until the suspension of the Agency’s operations, I did not know even that she was representing the Ministry Justice (MoJ) in the restitution case, this not being an issue of interest to my work in the government, “adds Elena Udrea. In the same post on Facebook, the PMP national leader, also praises Bica for her professionalism. “I have always appreciated the professionalism of Mrs. Alina Bica, recognized through her participation in developing the two new Criminal Codes and to maintain the legality of the Government’s acts that she had usually endorsed herself  from the Ministry of Justice” notes Udrea, which concludes arguing that she does know anything about the facts of which is accused the DIICOT head, but she hopes that Bica “will be able to prove her innocence before the law”. Mediafax recalls that, before the first round of presidential elections, on a website appeared more pictures of Elena Udrea along with Alina Bica, while in Paris at a shopping session last February. After a few hours of the onset of these photos, the site could not be accessed anymore. The businessman Dorin Cocos, former husband of Elena Udrea, would have required 10 million euro to intervene ‘to decision-makers of the ANRP ” to resolve the request of George Stelian, (said  Stelu), who demanded financial compensations for the land overestimated by 61 million, it is claimed in a statement to investigators according to DNA ‘s documents that formed the basis of the decision to arrest the DIICOT head, Alina Bica.In the same statement it is said that George Stelian bought from a certain Dino Sinigalia in 2010, litigious rights for a land of 13 acres in Plumbuita Park area.”After that, Dorin Cocos guaranteed that all will be well … .After GS,an appraiser was nominated, Cocoas gave an envelope with money to him … .100.000 lei .. When the assessor has completed the report to evaluate the land, its total value … arrived at about 377 million lei, and Dorin Cocos asked for about EUR 10,000,000 to intervene with decision makers within ANRP to solve the file …. Dorin Cocos received in several installments, the amount of approximately 10 million euro ” , said the person interviewed by investigators cited by the same documents.Businessman George Stelian is known for more real estate businesses. Mediafax says that Elena Udrea, would have bought from him in 2006, a land in ​​Bucharest Floreasca area to build housing. However, Udrea also purchased from him a land on Lake Griviţa, also for a real estate project, after making a loan of 3.3 million euros at BRD. As this project didn’t have success, Udrea sold the land and the credit to Alexandru Faur, Stelian’s business partner.

 

 

 

 

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