POLITICS

Mihail Boldea on safari trip in Congo

The fugitive MP sent his greetings to prosecutors from the African savannah. President Basescu says Prosecutors might retain him ‘anytime’, but Romania doesn’t want him arrested in another country.

Developments in Boldea case are taking a new turn. While Romanian authorities declared a general mobilisation for bringing back to Romania the Galati MP who is currently searched for by the Interpol after leaving the country on March 17, before the parliament had a chance to lift his immunity, Boldea is giving all of them the fluff, letting everyone know he is on a safari trip in Congo and that he has enough money to spend another two quiet years’ there if he wanted to. Friday at noon, during the 2011 SRI (Romanian Intelligence Service) work report meeting, President Traian Basescu was announcing that Mihail Boldea was in Kenya (a country with which Romania has no extradition agreement in place), promising to get personally involved ‘in categorical’ manner in bringing him back. ‘I can assure you that, last night (Thursday night – our note), the Romanian state started all procedures to bring Mr. Boldea back to the country. I don’t know how soon that will be, I don’t know how long he will stay where he was a few hours ago, but I can assure you that, as we do with other ones, we will find this one even in a snake’s hole and he will have to come back’, Basescu said. Although he admitted to being interested in knowing how Boldea’s flight had been possible, Basescu does not find Galati prosecutors responsible. Actually, he thinks it was more likely ‘a clumsiness’ on their part, adding that the situation was quite new in this case, which also mattered: ‘They (prosecutors –our note) had 24 hours to do 22 house searches, write reports, interview about 20 people and prepare the arrest paperwork for eight of them. It’s clear that, working under such pressure in such a short time – 24 hours – the prosecutors could have made mistakes’. The president also said that the warrant prosecutors gave SRI in Boldea case – audio interception, not tailing – ‘had been carried out irreproachably’. Prosecutor General Laura Codruta Kovesi in turn says the resignation of the prosecutor in charge with the case in Galati would not be useful, stressing that the priority now is to bring Boldea back and that the prosecutor is best acquainted with the case. She said that if he was still in Kenya, Boldea could be brought back even in the absence of a bilateral extradition treaty, under the ‘reciprocity principle’. Not the least scared by the fact that he had been officially declared a fugitive by the police and prosecutor’s office and with Romanian intelligence agencies hunting him down,  the MP phoned journalists from Congo and even participated in a live Antena 3 TV programme over the weekend. On Friday, he told ‘Gandul’ daily that he was actually in Congo and not Kenya as the president had informed. ‘I caught a plane to Kenya and then I went to Congo by road’, Boldea said, not worried a bit about disclosing details about his itinerary when he lad left the country: ‘At 11 hours I was departing from Galati (March 16 – our note) as an honest citizen. I didn’t use my diplomatic passport, I used my tourist passport. I did not leave the country illegally. I left the country through Giurgiu, I drove to the Turkish border, I caught a plane to Nairobi, and from Nairobi I took a bus to Congo.’ The MP claims he had planned his trip a while before and that he had told the prosecutor dealing with his case about his intention to go. ‘If I truly wanted to escape, I would have arranged that because I am a lawyer. I have not made any arrangements because I didn’t want to flee. I told this to him (prosecutor – our note): <I’m going!> And he said: <Then go!> So I went’, Boldea said live on the phone on Antena 3 TV. His message to the authorities was that he would return on his own free will most likely this week. ‘Mr. Basescu should not look for me, I will come back next week (this week – our note). I’m looking for a plane ticket right now. I will come back and expiate my sins in the country, I’m not going to be a fugitive.’ The lawyer complained about the fact that, in Romania, ‘one’s right to defence is not respected’, noting that he had filed complaints with the prosecutor’s office, prosecutor general, DIICOT head and even the president because ‘witnesses are being convinced to testify the way DIICOT wants’.

‘…responsible people searched in the country’

Blamed by the opposition and the mass-media, the authorities are now trying to find out who’s responsible for Boldea’s flight. Prosecutor General Laura Codruta Kovesi has ordered an inspection at the Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), After the SRI had said it brought the Boldea case to the attention of the relevant authorities as early as 2008. The Judicial Inspection of the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM), on its part, has announced it would look into ‘the aspects indicated by the mass-media’ regarding the circumstances in which Mihail Boldea had left the country.

DIICOT freezes Boldea’s assets

The DIICOT prosecutors have seized two apartments and four plots of land owned by Mihail Boldea in Galati County, as well as three apartments in Galati City, owned by the MPs’ youngest brother, Gheorghe Boldea and his father, and ‘an apartment property of defendant Mihaela Barabanciuc’. The prosecutors also froze EUR 130,000 and RON 240,000 Boldea had wired to the bank accounts of two other defendants, as well as the MP’s accounts with four banks. Mediafax quotes judicial sources as saying that more searches had been conducted at Boldea’s properties in Galati city on Friday.

MAI head supports restriction of parliamentary immunity

The Minister of Administration and Interior, Gabriel Berca, stated on TV yesterday that he supported the restriction of parliamentary immunity. Asked how it had been possible for Boldea to leave the country, the minister explained that he had left as his immunity as an MP was still valid, noting that the border police had no jurisdiction to act. On the other hand, the interior minister said the case prosecutor could have asked for a ban from leaving the country in the case of the MP, if it had deemed such thing necessary.

 

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