Silviu Bian was arrested for 29 days on Sunday on suspicion of bribe-taking. Democrat-Liberals consider him a PR liability for the party.
Premier Emil Boc removed Silviu Bian from the helm of the National Employment Agency (ANOFM) after the Bucharest Court decided on Sunday evening to arrest for 29 days the secretary of state accused of bribe-taking. In parallel, the Labour Minister, whose subordinate ANOFM is, ordered an investigation and announced that in a short time he will propose a new person for the vacated position. The Minister also told his subordinates that those of them that plan to do similar things should better leave. As ANOFM President, Bian received EUR 22,000 and RON 19,000 from public servants working within ANOFM’s county branches, in exchange for co-financing their offices. Bian was caught receiving another RON 82,000. In fact, on Sunday investigators confiscated EUR 1,300, USD 160 and two pocket books from the secretary of state’s home.
While the upcoming judicial proceedings are somewhat clear in this case, Bian’s party membership is hotly debated. Silviu Bian was appointed Vice President of PDL Alba this spring, being in fact one of the Democrat Party’s (PD) founding members. In spite of his lengthy party membership, PDL’s National Permanent Bureau (BPN) decided yesterday to exclude Bian from the party, a source that took part in the meeting told Mediafax. PDL First Vice President Sorin Frunzaverde stated that the decision proposed by BPN will be taken by the party’s National Coordination Council that is set to convene in several weeks’ time. According to Frunzaverde, Bian is currently suspended from the party. Before the meeting, he stated that in line with the PDL statute Silviu Bian is considered automatically suspended from the party. However, he added that the justice system has to give a concrete result before a decision is taken. Asked whether this situation creates PR liabilities for the party, Frunzaverde answered: “Inevitably. It’s not something to be happy about and I’ve said that in this kind of cases we have to see a court ruling, the justice system has to give a clear verdict.”
Many members of the party’s central leadership were in favor of excluding Bian from the party even before the BPN decision. Elena Udrea, President of PDL Bucharest, pointed out that Bian should be excluded from the party. “I believe there is no longer room for pretexts not to exclude a member that finds himself in this situation. It’s very frustrating for PDL members that really work for this party, that do their job correctly and that have to suffer because of colleagues such as Mr. Bian,” Udrea said according to Mediafax. PDL Vice President Theodor Paleologu was even harsher, stating for RFI that PDL should not wait for a court verdict if the person concerned causes PR problems for the party. “The fact that there is the presumption of innocence does not mean one has to hang on to someone for years until things are clarified in court, because during that period that man will make you lose votes, will cause PR liabilities for the party,” Paleologu pointed out. First Vice President Teodor Baconschi stated that the prosecutors’ charges against Bian are extremely serious. “To take advantage of the new restructuring to squeeze benefits from your subordinates is disqualifying from a legal and moral standpoint. We will see how the investigation continues and for the time being to me the fact that the Premier sacked him seems normal,” Baconschi pointed out. “The one that made a mistake, naturally, provided that mistake is proven, has to pay for it,” Internal Affairs Minister Traian Igas said.
Opposition representatives did not miss the opportunity offered by the Bian case. PSD President Victor Ponta stated yesterday that PDL’s “clientele and mafia system” is sucking all resource out of Romania, the promotions that took place within PDL being proof in that sense. Ponta added that Silviu Bian’s arrest, as well as the arrest of Cornelia Corescu, the head of Timis County’s Labour Inspectorate, shows that “PDL has a system for the illegal taxation of all activities.”