The National Integrity Agency (ANI) notified the Supreme Court yesterday that former Education Minister Ecaterina Andronescu (PSD) was at the centre of a conflict of interests.
ANI inspectors claim that Ecaterina Andronescu, rector of the Bucharest Polytechnics University (UPB), was manager of a POSDRU project during her term as Education Minister. As project manager Andronescu earned approximately RON 40,000.
According to ANI, Andronescu is UPB rector and project manager since 2004. For a brief period of seven months (February 12, 2009 – September 30, 2009) she temporarily stepped down from those offices because she became Minister of Education, Research and Innovation. The irregularities reported by ANI however appear after Andronescu was appointed manager of the “Competitive training of Ph.D. candidates in the priority domains of the knowledge-based society” project (POSDRU). As project manager she earned RON 39,843 in October 2009 – April 2011.
ANI inspectors argue Andronescu continued to be project manager while she was Education Minister. In these conditions, ANI claims that Ecaterina Andronescu violated the judicial regime concerning conflict of interest in the administrative field, obtaining a patrimonial benefit and signing documents as project manager.
In this context, ANI inspectors have made the necessary overtures in order to cancel the contracts signed in violation of the legal provisions concerning conflict of interest. In addition, the deed of the person found to have violated the said provisions represents a basis for sacking and for not allowing that person to hold public offices for a period of three years. In some cases it represents breach of discipline and is punishable in line with the office’s statute.
According to Realitatea.net, ANI took note of this case in early March, immediately after the new Education Law came into force.
Antonescu denies ANI accusations
Ecaterina Andronescu claims that she will attack ANI’s decision in court, pointing out that she earned money from the project financed from structural funds only after she ended her term as Education Minister and adding that she can prove it with documents.
At the same time, the PSD Senator pointed out that she had the obligation to sign the project financed from structural funds since the said project was assumed by the legal representative of the institution that filed the request (UPB – editor’s note). “I will prove that with documents because I believe nobody is above the law,” Andronescu said for Mediafax.
In what concerns the incompatibility between her being a rector and a Senator at the same time, Andronescu stated that ANI had ruled in 2010 that both she and the three other rectors that are also MPs are not incompatible with the offices held.