POLITICS

Blejnar claims the EUR 2 bln tax collection target was unrealistic

The former ANAF chief says that he handed the premier his resignation two months ago, over the target set by the Executive (1.5 pc of the GDP) for the extra incomes that state institutions should have collected.

Premier Mihai Razvan Ungureanu slammed yesterday, in a meeting of the inter-ministerial committee held at the government, the former management of the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF), which he accused of not being efficiently involved in the fight against tax evasion and failing to collaborate with the other state institutions. The premier urged the new chief of the Agency, Serban Pop, to contribute to the government’s target of raising the level of budget incomes to 40 pc of the GDP (from 32-33 pc of the GDP now).On the other hand, the former chief of the fiscal authority, Sorin Blejnar claims that, two months ago, he submitted a blank resignation to the cabinet of PM Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, because the target set by the Executive – EUR 2 bln – for the extra incomes brought to the state budget by actions aimed at curbing tax evasion was unrealistic. “Two months ago, when that unrealistic target of 1.5 pc of the GDP has been set for the extra incomes resulting from the activity of state institutions aimed at curbing tax evasion, I decided to submit a blank resignation to the cabinet of the prime minister. I am from Transylvania, I am a man of honour, and when honourable people doubt they will meet the target, they must act accordingly,” Blejnar said on Realitatea TV, just hours after being dismissed from the position of chief of the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF). He added that, so far, the Agency was able to collect approximately 1 pc of the GDP, out of the target set by PM Ungureanu: “I submitted my resignation because, at that moment, I could not know whether we would achieve 1.5 or 1 pc. It was a gesture of honour which I made, and I don’t regret it. I would repeat it tomorrow, if necessary.” On the other hand, Blejnar admitted that the premier announced him by phone, on Tuesday, that he had been sacked adding he didn’t ask for explanations. “If today (Tuesday) was the deadline and he (the premier) considered as necessary to remove me from this position, this is what he did. He did not need my resignation in order to dismiss me,” Blejnar added.As for his new position – chief of the Department for the control of big possessions – he said that “over the last 20 years, the activity of the Fiscal Authority was wrongly directed only towards legal entities.” The new department will tax the citizens that try to evade paying taxes and dues. According to Blejnar, a big wealth starts “from assets of EUR 20 M and incomes worth EUR 3 M in 2011.” Government spokesman Dan Suciu said that Sorin Blejnar was removed from the top position with ANAF because experts working with the prime minister found out that the Agency was unable “to efficiently collect incomes.” Mihai Razvan Ungureanu dismissed Blejnar from the position of ANAF chief Tuesday evening and replaced him with Serban Pop. The new president of ANAF worked in the top management of the institution for a year, as vice-president during the mandate of the Tariceanu Government (PNL), after also holding the position of cabinet head of former Finance minister Mihai Tanasescu (PSD) in the Nastase Cabinet. A 37 year old lawyer, Pop worked with the Ministry of Finance ever since year 2000. When Tanasescu was no longer a Finance minister, as PSD left the government after elections, Serban Pop worked as lawyer with an individual firm. In February 2008, he returned to the working apparatus of the minister of Finance, where he was appointed by PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu as ANAF vice-president in charge with coordinating the financial and fiscal control operations. In this position, Pop was a member of the Board of CEC Bank and represented the state in the General Meeting of Shareholders of the National Printing House (Imprimeria Nationala) and the Romanian Lottery (Loteria Romana). In January 2009, he was dismissed from the position of ANAF vice-president by then Premier Emil Boc and stopped working with the administration. Since February 2011 until now, he was partner in the law firm ‘Pop, Savin si Asociatii.’

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