On Wednesday, at the start of the Government meeting, Premier Viorica Dancila said she informed the Protection and Guard Service (SPP) that she is hereby giving up its services, a gesture that all ministers will follow. She pointed out she has no problem with the SPP officers or with the institution.
“I would like to mention that I have conveyed to the Protection and Guard Service, since Monday evening, that I don’t want to benefit from [their] protection. I understand that all ministers have opted to do the same and I have already communicated this thing. I will fulfil all legal formalities in this regard,” Viorica Dancila stated.
The PM wanted to mention that she does not have any problem with the SPP officers, nor with the institution itself.
“I don’t have any problem with the SPP officers, whose work I respect, nor with the institution, but this is my decision. I am not the only dignitary who opted for this,” Dancila stated.
Premier Viorica Dancila gave up the SPP’s services as soon as she was sworn in, the protection of officials being now provided by the Romanian Gendarmerie. The decision to give up the SPP’s services was taken by all the members of the new Government.
Her and the Government members’ decision to give up the SPP’s services appeared on Tuesday, after PSD Chairman Liviu Dragnea had stated, on Monday evening, on Antena3, that institutionally any Premier must have contacts with the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) and SPP, but SPP Director Lucian Pahontu got involved in the Government more than required.
Liviu Dragnea also stated for Antena 3 that SPP Director Lucian Pahonta sent one of Deputy Premier Paul Stanescu’s friends to inform the latter that Dragnea will be “executed” and that Stanescu will be “protected” and will become the President of the Social Democratic Party.
“A colleague of ours, Paul Stanescu – that’s probably why he has problems now, or maybe it’s a simple coincidence –, said during several public meetings, NatExCom meetings, that a good friend of his was sent by Mr Pahontu, claiming he was not talking on his behalf – but I believe he talked solely on his behalf –, and told him that I will be executed in March and that he [Paul Stanescu] should stand aside because he will be protected and he will even become the party’s president,” Dragnea told Antena3.
The PSD leader pointed out that, if Pahontu had the same kind of discussion with ex-Premiers Mihai Tudose or Sorin Grindeanu too, “we can start to understand” their tense relationship with the party.
“Institutionally, any Premier must have contacts with the heads of such institutions – and I’m talking about the SRI, SIE and a bit about the SPP. I don’t know at this hour whether these institutions exerted such great influence as to prompt Sorin Grindeanu and Mihai Tudose to start having such a tense relationship with the party and the coalition. We have no way of knowing now, but this doesn’t mean we won’t find out eventually. On the other hand, several colleagues have told me that the SPP Director was involved more than necessary. There is no reason for the head of the SPP to interact with the Premier or with members of the Cabinet,” Dragnea added.
“I saw how Mihai Tudose evolved after he was no longer Prime Minister, I actually thanked him today, he has become the same open and jolly colleague. Maybe the tension there, maybe the influences. We have no way of knowing now, but this doesn’t mean we won’t find out eventually. Several colleagues have told me that the head of the SPP was involved more than necessary. Mr Paul Stanescu was told that in March I will be executed, and he can become the head of the party. Maybe Grindeanu and Tudose were told the same, I don’t know,” the PSD Chairman said.
“Over the last year, we have talked about the SPP’s and Mr Pahontu’s involvement in political matters. Dignitaries who are being monitored, a database collected by this gentleman. The decision is natural. The moment this SPP, instead of ensuring the protection of dignitaries, is busy monitoring and spying on dignitaries and is sending information to a single man who analyses it, that’s not right,” PSD Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu told Antena3 on Tuesday.
Dragnea: Gov’t members giving up SPP protection is not a political decision
PSD Chairman Liviu Dragnea claimed on Wednesday that the Government members giving up SPP protection is not a political decision taken within the party.
Referring to the SPP, Liviu Dragnea said that today he saw an important decision adopted by the members of Government and the Premier.
Asked to state the concrete things he accuses Pahontu of, the PSD leader replied: “I believe there are others who will talk.”
Dragnea pointed out he has nothing against SPP officers, nor with the institution itself.
“For instance, I’ve had no SPP [detail] since I came to the House. I’m using the party’s car, but this doesn’t mean that some member of the two Governments gave up the SPP services, so it wasn’t a political decision, not now and not back then either. It was the Premier’s and the Government’s decision, which I welcome,” the PSD Chairman added.
Paul Stanescu: Pahontu told me to collaborate because Dragnea will be executed and I can take over PSD
PSD’s Paul Stanescu stated on Wednesday that SPP Director Lucian Pahontu told him, via a friend, that it would be very good for him to collaborate because he would enjoy protection, because Liviu Dragnea will be executed by March at the latest and he could end up even taking over the party.
“I can tell you this: a friend came to me, sent by a high-level Romanian official, I understood Pahontu is his name, and he told me, two weeks after I was appointed Deputy Premier and Development Minister, that it would be very good to collaborate because I would enjoy protection, because Liviu Dragnea will be executed by March at the latest and I could end up even taking over the party,” Stanescu said.
He pointed out he told Pahontu, via the same friend, that he got the wrong person.
“I said: please tell him he completely got the wrong person. I don’t know who Pahontu is, I never saw him in my life. I never thought and I’m not thinking about taking over the party. I don’t believe the SPP is to blame, I believe people are to blame and it’s unpardonable for such things to be said. I was a Deputy Premier. This is a grave attack on democracy,” Stanescu said.
He pointed out that the said friend is not ex-Premier Mihai Tudose and he cannot divulge his identity.
Asked what “executed” means, Stanescu said: “What everyone understands by that.”
Prosecutor General’s Office starts verifications following Liviu Dragnea’s statements about SPP Director Lucian Pahontu
On Wednesday, the Prosecutor General’s Office started verifications following Liviu Dragnea’s statements regarding the SPP Director. The PSD President had stated that SPP Director Lucian Pahontu had sent one of Deputy Premier Paul Stanescu’s friends to tell the latter that Dragnea will be “executed.”
General Prosecutor’s office denies ongoing investigation into Dragnea’s accusations against SPP chief
The General Prosecutor’s Office denied the existence of an ongoing investigation into the accusations made by Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea against the Protection and Guard Service (SPP) chief, Lucian Pahontu.
“In respect to the information that appeared in the public space related to the existence of a criminal case pending with the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) regarding the statements made by the Speaker of the Deputies Chamber, the Public Ministry denies the existence of such ongoing investigation into the affirmations of the Speaker of the Deputies Chamber against the head of the Protection and Guard Service,” reads a message posted on Wednesday on the Facebook page of the Public Ministry.
Previously, the General Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that there was an order for verifications to be carried out into Dragnea’s affirmations.
Manda evokes possibility of parliamentary cttee of inquiry into the SPP being formed
On Wednesday, SRI Oversight Committee Chairman Claudiu Manda evoked the possibility of a parliamentary committee of inquiry into the SPP being formed, pointing out that the committee will discuss during its first meeting the allegation that a secret service existed within the SPP, allegation made in a letter signed by Alina Mungiu Pippidi.
“The SRI Committee has received an open letter from Mrs Pippidi. During the first meeting we will discuss the allegation that a secret service existed within the SPP. It remains to be seen what we will do at the committee, whether this falls under our prerogatives or not,” Manda said.
Asked whether he will invite SPP Director Lucian Pahontu to the hearings, Manda said: “We have Mrs Pippidi’s letter. During the first meeting we will discuss if this concern the committee, whether it will be sent to a different committee, whether a committee of inquiry will be set up, which isn’t our decision but is an aspect that… having been notified, we will read that document to come up with an answer.”
Asked for more details on the committee of inquiry, Manda pointed out: “There are several variants that are not decided by the SRI Committee.”
Ponta: Dragnea had privileged relations with what he now calls the deep state
Ex-Premier Victor Ponta states that Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea at one point had privileged relations with what he now calls the “deep state.” “I find it hard to believe he declared his independence,” Ponta stated on Digi24.
“If Grindeanu and Tudose were controlled from someplace else and Dragnea appointed them, it means Dragnea is controlled from someplace else. And I know for sure – having witnessed it, having seen it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears –that Mr Dragnea had privileged relations with what he now calls the deep state. I took part in many semi-official events where Mr Pahontu from the SPP – Dragnea’s new target – was present. He is making him famous, I don’t think people knew who Pahontu is. (…) He wasn’t as feisty with him. If he appointed two of the deep state’s Premiers – Grindeanu and Tudose – it means he is controlled by the deep state. Should I take it that he has declared his independence now, with Dancila? I find this hard to believe,” Victor Ponta stated on Tuesday evening.
He added that Liviu Dragnea “is always playing this game, in which the difference between what he says on TV, what he thinks and what he does is like the difference between Africa, South America and Asia, they never touch.”
Traian Basescu warns Dragnea after Gov’t members give up SPP services: Things will turn out badly, very badly… Daddy
Former President Traian Basescu warns that the Government members’ decision to give up the SPP’s services will not end well for PSD President Liviu Dragnea.
“After a “long” cooperation with the SPP, which lasted only 24 hours, Viorica Vasilica Dancila decided to give up the legal protection offered by this institution.
“Obviously, Vasilica was only the doer of one of Daddy’s dispositions, which was based on party gossip. This episode demonstrates how Vasilica’s governance will ensue.
“Daddy orders, Vasilica executes. In fact, Dragnea is starting to build institutions that are parallel to the legal ones, to be able to control everything within the Government and the other state institutions. In this strategy, an important pawn is another Videle subject – Carmen Dan. In the end, things will turn out badly, very badly… Daddy,” Basescu wrote on Facebook.
The former President also points out:
- The SPP is an institution that is part of the defence system.
- Removing the SPP from carrying out dignitary protection missions, based on party gossip, is illegal and is delivering a blow to a component of the national defence system.
- SPP officers drafting reports that concern something other than the security incidents concerning the dignitary – if they existed – is out of the question.
- Transferring the responsibility for the protection of dignitaries to the Gendarmerie is illegal, the Gendarmerie not having such missions stipulated by law.
- Gendarmerie officers lack the professional competence and training required to protect dignitaries.
- The Gendarmerie does not have the mechanism and logistics required to protect dignitaries.
- The commander of the Romanian Gendarmerie should be careful: protecting dignitaries means much more than guarding dignitaries.
Iohannis, on Government members’ renouncing SPP: I find it to be non-problem
President Klaus Iohannis considers that the Government members’ renouncing the Guard and Protection Service (SPP) is a non-problem.
“It was not on my mind, I find it to be a non-problem,” Iohannis said in Brussels, on Wednesday, after a joint press conference with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
The President’s statement came after Prime Minister Viorica Dancila announced at the beginning of the Government meeting on Wednesday that he does not want to benefit from the protection of the SPP.
“I would like to say that I informed the Guard and Protection Service on Monday evening that I do not want to benefit from protection. I understand that all ministers have the same option and we have already communicated this, we will carry out the legal formalities in this respect,” Viorica Dancila said.