Political leaders try to decipher what lies behind Toba’s removal from helm of MAI

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Dragnea links Toba’s departure to the organising of elections: MAI seems to be a cursed ministry; Toba, a good professional

 

Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea stated on Sunday evening that Petre Toba is a good professional and suggested that his removal from the helm of the Interior Ministry (MAI) was sought in view of the upcoming parliamentary elections.

“It’s as if it’s a cursed ministry. There’s something wrong here. I suspect… From what I remember, the elections have been set for December 11. The Interior Ministry plays an important role. It’s important, only if one wants this ministry to play a crucial role does one resort to this change. If someone wants to make it crucial, then he needs someone 100 percent in his pocket,” Liviu Dragnea said on RTV.

He also said he knows Petre Toba well from back when he was Deputy Premier and Toba was head of the Romanian Police.

“I worked with him for years in various circumstances, in various positions. He’s a very good professional. I won’t comment on the DNA’s initiative; I am steering clear of doing that. He is a professional, a man who handled the ministry well this year; it was one of the few ministries that worked well – there were no problems in the local elections. Petre Toba can be called a professional, a technocrat, and he had to leave the Government. Of course this isn’t all right,” the PSD leader added.

 

Basescu: I don’t believe eliminating Toba was a political stake. Accusation included in DNA communique is flimsy

 

Ex-president Traian Basescu stated on Sunday evening that he does not believe the elimination of Petre Toba from the Interior Ministry was a political stake, but there are real problems at the ministry’s intelligence service, adding however that the accusation included in the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) communique, the one concerning aiding and abetting the felon, is “flimsy.”

“My analysis is that the elimination of minister Toba was not a scheme, the statements made by the officers summoned at the DNA simply had a snowball effect. What puzzles me however… the accusation that minister Toba aided the felon by refusing to declassify certain documents from the Interior Ministry’s intelligence service. These were probably documents concerning the procurement of goods, because I’ve heard they were also procuring caviar, champagne, showers, cars and perfumes. My perplexity is how can you accuse the Interior Minister of not declassifying some documents as long as he was not the one who classified them. The law is extremely clear – only the one who classified them can declassify them, possibly the head of the service, not the minister,” the PMP leader stated in a talk-show on RTV.

Traian Basescu added that in his opinion, based on how the DNA communique currently looks, the accusation is “flimsy” and the prosecutor handling the case “has poor training.”

“President Iohannis received nine portfolios, so the case file is very large. Based strictly on the DNA’s communique, President Iohannis should reject the start of the criminal prosecution,” he added.

Traian Basescu also stated that he followed the public debate on Petre Toba’s resignation from the Interior Ministry but does not believe eliminating Toba was a stake, because his nomination was backed by both the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) and President Klaus Iohannis. At the same time, he argued that he does not see why someone would have wanted to remove Toba from the government given the fact that the local elections took place in a fair manner.

 

Prosecutor General Lazar submits to President Iohannis request for criminal prosecution of ex IntMin Toba

 

Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar has submitted to President Klaus Iohannis a request by National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) for criminal prosecution of former Interior Minister Petre Toba and charge him with aiding and abetting a perpetrator.

According to DNA, on April 1 2016, when the institution was investigating a case involving former deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Gabriel Oprea as well as others, Toba, minister of interior at the time, refused to partially declassify documents relevant to the investigation.

“The prosecutors’ request, drawn up according to the Criminal Code and classified information provisions, refers to a few paragraphs in ministerial orders regarding regulations that were violated when the prosecuted public employees were in charge of managing operative funds. In this case, we have established that the Minister of Interior, Toba Petre, refused, at his sole discretion, to start the procedure for declassification of regulations which, in case of violation, may lead to abuse of office and embezzlement; in this situation information is forbidden, according to Article 3 in Law no 182/2002 concerning the protection of classified information, because it could lead to ignoring Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates the right to a fair trial, including the right to be informed on charges,” DNA stated.

According to DNA, the need to declassify the mentioned regulations is also based on Article 137 of the Romanian Constitution, which stipulates that public institution funds are subject to non-classified regulations, namely organic laws.

“The lack of transparence in the management of the operative funds made a mockery of the operative funds and achieving national security. Goods were acquired with no connection whatsoever to the general interest of maximum importance, as evidence shows,” say the prosecutors.

The source specifies that in absolutely similar situations (misuse of funds for witness protection, misappropriation of funds, respectively) Minister Toba operated quite the opposite: he declassified MAI regulations under file 596/P/2015, but denied declassification under file 20/P/2016.

Former senior ranking officers of the Intelligence and Internal Protection Department (DIPI) with the Internal Affairs Ministry (MAI) Rares Vaduva, Gheorghe Nicolae and Gelu-Marian Oltean, ex-deputy head of DIPI Nelu Zarnica, deputy head of DGIPI Gheorghe Popa, deputy head of the administrative divisions of DIPI Ioan-Dorin Popa are also investigated in the case.

The prosecutors noticed that DIPI employees, under the pretence of expenses for intelligence and operative activities, filed reports signed by their superiors which led to using operative funds for illegal purchase of protocol services or decorations for the organisations as well as for personal purposes by the management of the institution.