On Wednesday, Parliament confirmed Government Secretary General Mihai Busuioc (photo) as President of the Court of Accounts, for a nine-year term in office. Busuioc is set to replace incumbent Court of Accounts President Nicolae Vacaroiu, whose term will expire several days from now. Also confirmed were the President and Vice Presidents of the Court of Accounts’ Audit Authority, but also a Court of Accounts Vice President and an adviser.
Mihai Busuioc was confirmed in a 275-9 vote.
Nicu Marcu was confirmed as the institution’s Vice President, in a 270-100 vote.
In his turn, Aurel Dumitru was confirmed as Court of Accounts adviser, in a 267-103 vote.
The President and Vice President of the Court of Accounts’ Audit Authority were also confirmed on Wednesday.
Florin Tunaru was confirmed as President of the Authority, in a 267-103 vote, while Lucian Dan Vladescu was confirmed as Vice President in a 268-102 vote.
Although Mihai Busuioc is considered to be close to Liviu Dragnea, alongside whom he worked for several years, the PSD leader stated during the joint plenary meeting that the new Court of Accounts President is an “independent” person.
“I know there are party colleagues of mine who are maybe upset that I didn’t resort to political negotiations and talks within the party too. And I take responsibility for this, dear colleagues. If you want to punish me, you can punish me. But I want to tell you something – the most important thing is that these people, and the other two who are about to come, should not have any political dependence. Because they should not do what others did before, including PSD members – to lay to rest this [claim] about PSD members who did things for PSD and against others. It’s important that they understand – and I’m asking them to; it depends on each of them whether they will understand why they were endorsed,” Liviu Dragnea stated.
Busuioc, considered one of the closest people to PSD leader Liviu Dragnea, is currently Government Secretary General. Likewise, he was Deputy Secretary General within the Development Ministry at the time the ministry was led by Liviu Dragnea. In April 2017, Mihai Busuioc was appointed member of OMV Petrom’s Oversight Council, being nominated by the Romanian state, via the Energy Ministry.
In May 2012, ex-Premier Victor Ponta dismissed Busuioc from the helm of the National Agency for Cadastre and Real-estate Advertising. According to the wealth statement he filed in February 2017, Busuioc is member of several boards: ANOFM, ANL, Romarm, UM Plopeni and CNI.
The Opposition has levelled harsh criticism against the new appointments at the Court of Accounts, particularly against the decision to appoint Mihai Busuioc at the helm of the institution.
PNL Vice President Florin Citu accused PSD leader Liviu Dragnea of politicising the Court of Accounts “so that he could steal at ease without being held criminally accountable.”
“Dragnea admits the Court of Accounts to the membership of PSD. Dragnea is no longer hiding and has lost patience. PSD and Dragnea no longer want to at least maintain the appearance of democracy in Romania. Today there are important hearings for PSD in Parliament. The Court of Accounts is joining PSD. In just 10 months’ time, PSD has enrolled the CCR [Constitutional Court of Romania], the ASF [Financial Supervisory Authority] and now the CC [Court of Accounts]. The BNR [National Bank of Romania] (90 percent in PSD’s boat already) and the DNA [National Anticorruption Directorate] are next. Oh, I had forgotten, the Competition Council has willingly laid down its arms and is already making itself useful to the leader. PSD has two objectives: 1. To be able to steal at ease without being held criminally accountable. Here the Court of Accounts and the CCR have the biggest role to play. 2. To crush any trace of political opposition, the opposition of the civil society and of the private sector. Here, the ASF, BNR, Competition Council and ANAF [Romanian Tax Authority] are the institutions that PSD will sic against those who oppose the PSD dictatorship,” Florin Citu wrote on Facebook.
In his turn, USR Lower House member Claudiu Nasui accused that the hearings of the candidates for the Court of Accounts offices were a farce.
“Today (Tuesday – editor’s note), the candidates for the leadership of the Court of Accounts were heard in a fast-forward manner. 15 minutes for those who want to be President, 10 for those who want to be Vice President, and 5 for those who only want to be members of the Court’s plenum. It is, obviously, a bad joke. Everything is ridiculous. The hearings are in fact not taking place, it’s just a procedural step to tick off. The negotiation has already taken place behind closed doors. PSD has decided we should no longer ask questions and receive answers immediately, as would be normal, but all questions should be asked first after which the candidate would deliver a monologue in which he would answer what he pleases,” Nasui said, describing the hearings within the Budget-Finances Committees.
“Mr Tunaru, former ANAF Vice President and Liviu Dragnea’s former adviser at the Teleorman County Council in particular, is among those selected today. How independent do you think the Court of Accounts will be when auditing PSD mayoralties?” he warned.