Kovesi applies for DNA job, Morar has a change of heart

Antonescu deems Kovesi-Morar rotation scandalous. PM Ponta says there are other good prosecutors in Romania. President Traian Basescu awards medal to Codruta Kovesi.

Laura Codruta Kovesi applied for the chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), realitatea.net informs. Instead, Daniel Morar, delegated to lead the Public Ministry, told Mediafax yesterday that he could not afford to take part in ‘a farce’, referring to the procedure for the selection of candidates for the office of prosecutor general and chief prosecutor of DNA by the minister of justice.

Morar said that he would not apply for the position of prosecutor general, suggesting the procedure was not a transparent one. ‘The minister could have announced the beginning of the selection procedure with the note that it did not include me and Kovesi’, Morar accused. The Ministry  of Justice (MJ) replies through a  release that the procedure for the selection of candidates for the offices of prosecutor general and chief prosecutor of DNA, initiated by MJ, was in agreement with all the suggestions made by the European Commission and by the Prosecutors Department of the Superior Magistracy Council, seeking to assure transparency of the process, yet not trespassing article 54 of Law 303/2004, according to which the candidate is proposed by the minister of justice. PNL President Crin Antonescu said on Realitatea TV Monday night that it would be ‘unacceptable’ and ‘scandalous’ for the Government and minister of justice to propose a rotation of Laura Codruta Kovesi and Daniel Morar as respective heads of DNA and Prosecutor General Office. ‘The decision is exclusively for the minister of justice to make. The agreement was very clear and our commitment – Mr. Ponta’s as Prime Minister and mine – to Mona Pivniceru was that all decisions falling under her competence as Minister of Justice would be influenced in absolutely no way – not even with by a recommendation or suggestion – by either of us or our parties’, said the PNL leader. The Senate speaker also said he was unaware of any such suggestion having been made by European officials to PM Victor Ponta. ‘I believe it’s not a secret to anyone that there is this wish, starting with Traian Basescu and, of course, continuing with all his associates (…) that there should be a castling of roles. It is certain that Traian Basescu would want that’, Antonescu said. Crin Antonescu further noted that it would be ‘unacceptable’ and ‘scandalous’ for the Government and minister of justice to propose a castling of offices between Laura Codruta Kovesi and Daniel Morar. ‘Not even after a negotiation with Traian Basescu, because there can be no negotiation on a subject like that. I think, actually I am convinced, that there are magistrates in this country who are genuinely not tied to a political party in any way, and who are quite able to do what needs to be done’, the PNL leader further said. The Liberal leader said it would be unacceptable for ‘anyone to make an agreement, to have a negotiation on that subject’ with President Basescu. In connection with the subject of appointing new heads to PICCJ and DNA, PM Victor Ponta said that, under the law, one can be in an office during two terms after which ‘you usually make room for someone else’. He also said that competent and independent professionals to be appointed to those two positions would be certainly found among the 2,500 prosecutors Romania has.PM Victor Ponta, on his part, said on Antena 3 TV Monday night that a ‘Kovesi-Morar’ rotation to office would be a slightly odd procedure and said he was convinced the two of them were not irreplaceable. He also noted that the minister of justice would make proposals of professionals who should take over the leadership of the Office of the Prosecutor General and DNA, on Wednesday. On the other hand, President Traian Basescu seems to appreciate Kovesi’s performance as Prosecutor General. Yesterday, he signed a decree awarding to the prosecutor general the ‘Star of Romania’ in rank of Cavalier on the last day of her term.  According to a Presidency release, the President offered her the award ‘as a token of high appreciation of her activity during the six years she had led the Prosecutor’s Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice and for her special merit in carrying out the act of justice in Romania’. MEP Cristian Preda, PDL’s Prime Vice President, say a swap of positions between Morar and Kovesi as heads of the Office of the Prosecutor General and DNA would be a smart solution and a confirmation of the evaluation done by the EU officials. ‘We remind that, in the last years, in the CVM reports, the institutions led by the two have been the only ones appreciated and encouraged to carry on’, Preda says in an article called ‘Scandalous for Crin, good for the EU’, published on this blog. He further states ‘it is not surprising’ that Antonescu called such a move scandalous, because ‘what’s good for the EU is bad for Antonescu’. ‘PNL’s anti-European march goes on’- is Preda’s conclusion.The Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Senate, Toni Grebla (PSD), yesterday said a ‘castling’ of posts between Kovesi and Morar would be ‘an elusion of constitutional provisions’ and also ‘legally inadmissible’. ‘Out of over 3,000 prosecutors we keep rotating two, as if we could not find in this country two other well trained prosecutors who want to develop a career and confirm their activity. We keep coming back to these two as if they were the salvation of Romania’, the speaker of the Senate Legal Committee further noted.  PSD Vice President Ioan Chelaru also said he was convinced the Ministry of Justice would not take into consideration the ‘trick-taking card game’ played by Daniel Morar and Laura Codruta Kovesi and would designate other people with exemplary professional background to the two justice lead offices. On Monday, the last day of her term, Prosecutor General Codruta Kovesi appointed DNA Chief Prosecutor Daniel Morar as First Deputy Prosecutor General under a delegation. Morar will also act as temporary Prosecutor General.

Laura Oprean replaces Morar

Laura Oprean was also delegated as Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, by order of the First Deputy Prosecutor General, Daniel Morar. The delegation will be valid for six months. Laura Oprean has been Morar’s deputy. When her initial term expired on June 29, it was extended by delegation. Under article 57, paragraphs 7 and 8 of Law 303/2004 on the status of the magistrate, ‘prosecutors may be delegated, with their written consent, including to leading offices, by the prosecutor general of the Prosecutor’s Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, to prosecutor’s offices within the Public Ministry for a maximum period of six months’. According to the same law, such delegation may be extended with another six months maximum.

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