After nearly two months ago, Romanians were stunned to learn that journalist Robert Turcescu or Prosecutor General Laura Codruta Kovesi hold the rank of colonel in the Romanian Army, despite having nothing to do with the institution concerned, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) Friday disclosed more illegal rank promotions of the 1462 cases the ministry registered during 2011-2012.Having taken note two months ago about such Army illegalities, MoD, acting on the order of Minister Corneliu Dobritoiu, opened inquiries into military ranks granted over the past two years, which concluded that, “during 2012, there were 205 instances of rank promotions or promotions to retired officers, of which 19 refer to retiree ranks, 16, or 84.2 pc, of which don’t meet legal requirements, as well as “186 instances of rank promotions, of which 77, or 41.4pc, fail meeting the legal stipulations. Also, “during 2011, there were au 1257 instances of rank promotions or retiree ranks being awarded, of which: 534 retiree ranks, of which 42, or 79.7pc, don’t meet legal requirements, “as well as “723 retiree rank promotions, of which 316, or 43.7 pc overall, don’t meet requirements. Moreover, the Defence Ministry specifies that in all the illegal instances noted, there were also found non-compliance with the military staff status law stipulations and the “human resources management norms in the Romanian Army.”
‘Our guys deserve the best’
After the mega-scandal caused by hush- hush officer appointments made by Gabriel Oprea of the National Union for the Progress of Romania ((UNPR), including politicians, former ministers, mayors, presidents and journalists with Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) affiliation, or close to the ruling party at the time, new well-known names pop up, among them, Mugur Isarescu, Governor of the National Bank of Romania (BNR), who in 2011 was elevated to the rank of colonel, from that of lieutenant. Former premier Mihai Razvan Ungureanu is another case in point, who was promoted to colonel, from lieutenant major. Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) President Kelemen Hunor (photo), too, became a colonel, straight from being just a graduate. This also applies to Romania’s Prosecutor General Laura Codruta Kovesi, who became a lieutenant-colonel, also from being a mere graduate. Sorin Blejnar, former head of the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF), became a colonel in 2011, from being a lieutenant-colonel. The MoD lists also include psychotherapist Aliodor Manolea (who ‘energetically’ charged Traian Basescu in his decisive presidential electoral confrontation with Mircea Geoana in 20009) and who became a colonel, from being a mere captain, but also analyst Bogdan Chirieac, a caporal turned colonel.The token officers gave different explanations for their being on the MoD lists, with UDMR’s Kelemen Hunor saying he had applied for the rank to be withdrawn, which Minister Dobritoiu did. Kelemen Hunor also said he didn’t need the promotion, he didn’t know why he received the rank of retired colonel, nor who made the proposal, as he does not consider himself a military person.PDL Vice-President Cezar Preda, too, says he didn’t ask to be promoted to colonel. He also described as suspect the silence of former defence minister Gabriel Oprea, who awarded him the rank. “He should take it back <the rank>, it’s not my business, I didn’t ask for it. If it’s illegal, reparation needs to be made, if I’m guilty of something, I should be taken to task legally. I didn’t ask for it” Preda said.