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August 8, 2022

DNA chief blames Supreme Court for slow pace of proceedings

Daniel Morar complained that challenging the records made by anticorruption prosecutors is a new method of delaying proceedings.

The chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Direc­torate (DNA), Daniel Morar on Monday evening blamed – on the public television (TVR) – the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) for the slow pace of its proceedings, as defendants are very well advised to challenge certain documents of the accusation and the judges of ICCJ accept too easily their demands. According to the DNA chief, submitting 8,000 tapped conversations to expertise might block the activity of the Criminal Expertise Institute for as long as a year. According to Morar, the tactics of raising exceptions of non-constitutionality to legal provisions has been abandoned in favour of challenging the tapped evidence, as done by the former head of the Civil Section of ICCJ, retired judge Florin Costiniu, who is accused of corruption in the case involving PSD Senator Catalin Voicu. “Of late, they are no longer recognising their voice, they do not recognise themselves in these records, and – unfortunately – judges send these records to expertise,” he said. “It is simply up to them (judges),” he went on, adding that it has been never proved that prosecutors would rig such a piece of evidence, and expertise is a way to demonstrate it.

Another problem in delaying the cases is represented by the verdicts pronounced in economic files. The problem identified here by the head of the DNA is that the expertise must be paid at the High Court of Cassation and Justice by defendants. “Defendants pay at least 2 experts, and the state none. Judges take into consideration what experts say, then give verdicts. This is a source of heavy losses for the state… DNA too can make such expert verifications, but there are many cases and little cash to make them,” Morar explained, adding that the solution would be to pay these verifications from the special fund allotted for the trial, which would allow choosing experts beyond any doubt. According to Morar, poor professional training is one of the reasons which account for delays in rulings or failure to rule in some cases, arguing that over 20 judges have received sentences lately and over 40 are the object of investigations on such charges. “I came across the case of a judge who claimed that a EUR 4 M-bribe cannot be taken into consideration as evidence as it is an implausibly high amount,” the head of the DNA argued. He also rejected allegations that the Directorate is engaging in a “media circus” by leaking information to the press. Morar also took the High Council of Magistrates to task, on the grounds that the said body does not pursue the actions it should engage in. “It is one thing being a trade union member, it is something else entirely to run an institution,” the DNA chief commented.

Mitrea case to be sent back to judges

Morar also announced the case of the ex-Social Democratic Party (PSD) senator Miron Mitrea would most likely be sent back to the judges, which is to say the Parliament would have to grant once again their approval in this case. “We will most likely send it back to them (e.n. ICCJ judges), so they can issue a ruling concerning the 5bln-figure. Which is something they could have done, if they believed they could not issue a ruling concerning the entire amount, let them issue a ruling on this,” Daniel Morar argued. “In the initial stage, when we applied for an investigation warrant, there was no way of knowing the exact amount of the bribe,” he stated, adding that the bribe actually amounted to 8bln rather than 5bln. Morar also commented on the fact that two of the five judges opposed the return of the case, so that the High Court’s decision is debatable. “It is not a panel of five judges that decided the return, the panel of five tried the appeal. A panel of three reached that decision, and, out of the panel of five, two judges opposed the return, so there was a difference of opinions. Well, if I may voice my own opinion on this, in that case, those judges who decided the return reinvented the law,” he argued. DNA notified Mitrea last week that the investigation in his case was resumed. The Social-Democrat stands charged with receiving a bribe from Irina Jianu in exchange for appointing her chief-inspector at the State Inspectorate for Constructions and maintaining her in office, between 2001 and 2002.

Money gets misplaced

After staging an operation to catch Remus Baciu, deputy chair of the National Agency for Asset Retrocession (ANRP), in the act of receiving a bribe, the anti-corruption prosecutors were unable to retrieve the entire sum, namely, EUR 120,000. To recover the money, the prosecutors placed a sequestration on several sums of money found in the defendant’s home. Remus Baciu was taken in preventive arrest on August 26, 2011, charged with influence-peddling. Remus Baciu allegedly received this bribe in his quality as ANRP director, from a woman who was trying to recover an asset. The money had been marked by the prosecutors. The woman gave it to Camelia Andrusenco, ex-aide to the Interior Minister Cristian David, who, in turn, gave Remus Baciu only a share of the money. It appears the main suspect on this count is Camelia Andrusenco’s husband, also charged in this case.

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