National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Chief Prosecutor Codruta Kovesi stated that the probe that started following the filing of a complaint against government emergency ordinance no.13 (GEO 13) does not concern the advisability of its adoption but aspects related to legality and the violation of criminal law in terms that fall under the DNA’s jurisdiction.
Asked for her comment on the statements that DNA’s probe into GEO 13 represents interference in the Government’s activity, Codruta Kovesi said: “I won’t comment on these statements. I can tell you that we received a complaint that met the conditions stipulated by law. It was registered, we are conducting investigations, as done in the criminal cases we are invested with, there are judicial precedents.”
Codruta Kovesi pointed out that this dossier has nothing to do with the advisability of adopting the legislative acts.
“What I can certainly say is that we are not verifying the advisability of adopting a legislative act, we are only verifying aspects concerning legality and aspects concerning the violation of criminal law, namely the violation of the criminal law that falls under our jurisdiction, so we are only investigating crimes that fall under the DNA’s prerogatives,” Codruta Kovesi added.
“Asked whether Premier Sorin Grindeanu, ex-Justice Minister Florin Iordache and other members of the Government will be heard in this case, Kovesi pointed out that she cannot say who will be heard and who will not, because the investigation is handled by the prosecutor assigned to the case.
“The prosecutor will decide who must be heard and who mustn’t, based on the documents or measures he deems necessary,” Kovesi added.
The DNA’s Chief Prosecutor added that the magistrates expect the Parliament and the Government not to bring legislative changes that may stop the fight against corruption or that may seriously alter it.
The National Anticorruption Directorate has started a probe into the way the emergency ordinance amending the Criminal Codes (GEO 13) was drafted. The ordinance was subsequently abrogated through another emergency ordinance. The case was opened following a complaint filed on January 24 by Mihai Politeanu, Elena Ghioc and Razvan Patachi, members of the ‘Initiativa Romania’ association.
About this case, the DNA pointed out that procedural actions are being carried out regarding complaints received from several persons regarding possible guilty acts related to “the way some legislative acts were adopted.”
As part of the probe, the DNA asked the Justice Ministry for the original documents linked to the drafting and issuance of GEO 13 on January 31, which amended the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, as well as to the Government’s bill on the granting of pardons.
The DNA also asked for the handing over of documents generated as a result of inter-institutional and internal correspondence, in writing or in electronic form, regarding the two aforementioned legislative acts, and also the handing over of the names and identification data of the persons who took part in the writing, drafting and/or approval of the two legislative acts.
In their complaint filed with the DNA, the members of the ‘Initiativa Romania’ Association accused Premier Sorin Grindeanu and Justice Minister Florin Iordache of aiding and abetting and of intentionally presenting to Parliament or to the Romanian President inaccurate data concerning the Government’s or a ministry’s activity, in order to hide the committing of actions liable to damage the interests of the state.
Mihai Politeanu was heard by the DNA on February 1st and claimed he told prosecutors he wanted to fill-in the complaint, asking for PSD President Liviu Dragnea to be probed too, considering both the “conspiratorial” adoption of the OUG amending the Criminal Codes and the “public clues” regarding an alleged meeting in which Dragnea “imperatively” asked Iordache to adopt the GEO.
He pointed out that in his complaint against Dragnea he took into account both the events of the night of January 31st, when the Government “conspiratorially” adopted an emergency ordinance amending the Criminal Codes, as well as the “public clues pointing toward a meeting that the Justice Minister had with his party boss Dragnea Liviu, in which the latter allegedly imperatively asked for the adoption of the aforementioned ordinance.”
In the signatories’ opinion, “Sorin Grindeanu’s and Florin Iordache’s overtures to promote the granting of pardons and the amending of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code through emergency ordinances took place in violation of the law and with the purpose to hinder the holding accountable and the serving of sentences, in favour of some party colleagues, friends or political sponsors who have been convicted, indicted or criminally probed in recent years.”
Government’s Secretary General heard at DNA in GEO 13 case
In this dossier, the DNA is for the time being probing the guilty act, in rem, and in order to do this has summoned several Grindeanu Government officials. Thus, for instance, Gratiela Gavrilescu, minister for the relation with Parliament, was heard on Wednesday, after two former secretaries of state from the Justice Ministry and other civil servants were previously heard.
As Secretary General of the Government, Mihai Busuioc was involved in the process of adopting the controversial ordinance. According to the minutes of the Government meeting in which GEO 13 was adopted, Premier Sorin Grindeanu personally asked him whether the ordinance had all the approvals, and Busuioc answered affirmatively.
According to the minutes, Justice Minister Florin Iordache assured Premier Sorin Grindeanu, during the January 31st meeting, that the emergency ordinances amending the Criminal Codes had all the approvals needed, Government Secretary General Mihai Busuioc claiming the same thing.
“Mr Prime Minister, I’m asking you to supplement the order of the day with three bills. The first one or the first two of them are part of the package of laws that concern avoiding a pilot decision from the ECHR. And here I’m talking about the bill on the granting of some pardons. We didn’t need… The second bill is a bill supplementing Law no.254/2013 on the serving of sentences and detention orders. On this bill, we had the approval of the Foreign Minister, Mr Melescanu. And the third, I’m asking you to supplement it with the third. We’re talking about a draft emergency ordinance amending and supplementing the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code,” Justice Minister Florin Iordache told Premier Sorin Grindeanu during the January 31st Government meeting, per the minutes published by the Executive.
The Premier asked whether all the approvals were obtained and whether all the procedures required were met, Iordache’s answer being “of course.”
Likewise, Premier Sorin Grindeanu asked Government Secretary General Mihai Busuioc the same thing, the latter telling the Prime Minister that “from a technical standpoint all approvals have been obtained.”
The moment the talks reached the draft emergency ordinance concerning the Criminal Codes, the Premier once again asked for assurances that all the procedures were met and all the approvals obtained, Florin Iordache answering affirmatively.
At that moment, however, the ordinance had not received the Supreme Magistracy Council’s (CSM) approval, albeit non-binding. Subsequently, the Justice Minister explained he did not ask for CSM’s approval because that institution had already expressed its opinion in an earlier statement. Nevertheless, it turned out he had in fact sent the draft ordinance to the CSM but no longer waited for its opinion on it.