Toba after DNA hearings on police officer Gigina’s death: I believe I’ve clarified all technical aspects

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Former Chief of the Romanian Police Petre Toba stated on Tuesday, when leaving the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) – where he was heard in the case in which ex-Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea is investigated for abuse of office in relation to the illegal use of an official motorcade, a case that started following the death of traffic police officer Bogdan Gigina –, that he answered all the questions received from prosecutors and the defence, and that he clarified “all technical aspects.” He added he was not there to make statements to the benefit or the detriment of any of the sides involved. Former Chief of Traffic Police Lucian Dinita was also heard at the DNA on Tuesday, in the same case.

“I was subpoenaed as witness in the case concerning the accident in which Gabriel Oprea was involved. I answered all questions received from the prosecutor, all questions received from the defence, and, on this occasion, I believe I managed to clarify all technical aspects raised by the prosecutor and lawyers. (…) I swore to tell only the truth. I didn’t come here to make statements in favour or to the detriment of any of the sides, I came to present the technical situation as it were,” the former Chief of the Romanian Police said on leaving the DNA, where he was heard for over two hours.

Asked by journalists whether Gabriel Oprea abused the use of an official motorcade, Toba said: “It’s an answer that the investigation will provide.”

At the time police officer Bogdan Gigina died, Gabriel Oprea was Interior Minister and Deputy Premier, while Petre Toba was the Chief of the Romanian Police.

Asked why Gabriel Oprea wanted him heard as witness in this case, Lucian Dinita said he does not know who called him as a witness: “The subpoena is a subpoena. It states the time and the place, apart from that I don’t know.”

Former Chief of the Traffic Police Lucian Dinita told journalists on Tuesday that, by law, any minister can be accompanied by an official motorcade, on demand.

Journalists asked Lucian Dinita whether anyone had the courage to contradict Gabriel Oprea, his answer being: “I did and could do without from then on.”

Lucian Dinita was head of the Traffic Directorate of the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police from February 2009 to 30 April 2014, when he was dismissed. In June 2015, DNA prosecutors indicted Dinita, accusing him of receiving from a businessman a bribe consisting of one lamb, two turkeys and five trout, in return for helping him recover his driver’s licence after 30 days expired from a 90-day suspension period.

Former Prosecutor General Ilie Botos, who was secretary of state within the Interior Ministry at the time of the accident, was heard last week in the same case. On leaving the hearings, he said he found out about the accident the day after it occurred, he lacked prerogatives in establishing the composition of official motorcades, and he offered “technical” explanations.

Former Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea is investigated for abuse of office related to the illegal use of an official motorcade. The case was opened following the death of police officer Bogdan Gigina.

On the evening of 20 October 2015, around 7 p.m., police officer Bogdan-Cosmin Gigina, who was part of Minister Gabriel Oprea’s motorcade, died in a traffic accident.

“In what concerns the cause of the traffic accident – consisting of the driving speed (84 km/h) and of failure to adapt it to the weather conditions –, the evidence administered during the criminal investigation leads to reasonable clues that this cause was determined by Interior Minister Oprea Gabriel. The driving speed was implicitly established by the Interior Minister by pointing out the destination and precise moment in which he had to reach the destination. In fact, he was the only one in the position to ask the hiking of the driving speed beyond the safety limit,” DNA prosecutors claim.

Early this month, Oprea was heard at the DNA in the case concerning the death of police officer Bogdan Gigina. On leaving the hearings, he stated he told the truth and is innocent.

“The truth is I’m innocent, I was on duty. Unfortunately, the police officer fell in the three pits located three hundred metres from here, which were not properly marked and were not signalled with traffic lights,” Oprea stated.

Back then, the lawyer of the Gigina family was present at the DNA’s central headquarters simultaneously with Oprea. He said the late police officer’s relatives brought a civil action in the case, without revealing the sum they claim as damages.