POLITICS

Corneliu Dobritoiu, former defence minister, criminally investigated

Dobritoiu was questioned at the DNA  over a file dealing with illegal assignment of ministry housing. He says he was shadowed by specialized army structures.

The National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) on Tuesday announced criminal proceeding being instituted against Liberal Senator Corneliu Dobritoiu, a former defence minister and current chairman of the Senate Defense Commission for improper participation in abuse of office against public interests, having rented and consequently purchased at subsidized price a ministry dwelling, providing false information.

Also criminally investigated in connection with the file, Traian Pigui, a retired brigadier general, head of the Ministry of National Defense (MoD) Domains and Infrastructure Department, for abuse of office against public interests, according to a DNA press release. The criminal investigation resolution states that there is substantiated evidence and clues to prove that Traian Pigui, in his capacity as head of the Domains and Infrastructure Department of the MoD, got himself involved in illegally allotting official housing, some of which from the State Property Fund Administration (RAAPPS) in order to be bought at subsidized price, under Law 562/2004, by MoD leadership staff.  According to the said document, Dobritoiu rented and later on bought ministry housing from the MoD,” encroaching on legal provisions, using uttering to mislead sales commission members”. Prosecutors pointed out that by the signing date of the sales-purchase contract, the renting contract had lapsed, as it expired on June 29, 2005, “which means the renting contract was invalid on sale date”.  Ten more people in MoD leadership positions acquired subsidized ministerial housing under illegal conditions and were also opened criminal proceedings, prosecutors say.  The MoD-incurred damage is put at RON 1.2 M.  DNA said it could not provide further information into the case.

After the DNA hearing yesterday, the former defence minister said prosecutors informed him he was instituted criminal proceedings. Dobritoiu pointed out he fell victim to a political file and, if proposed for the position of defense minister, he would not turn it down, even if he is the subject of a criminal investigation.  “There may be some people with direct interests not to get into the Ministry of Defense, reason for which a criminal file must be opened which could be solved in 20 years,” Corneliu Dobritoiu said, who added that, when he saw on television a picture of his wife in the kitchen balcony, he realized it was taken by members of specialized army structures. “What is awkward is, I saw on some channels Monday a picture of my wife in the kitchen balcony. This picture encroaches on the right to intimacy, privacy, was taken from the stairways of the buildings across the street. I know the topography of the building and I realize it was taken by military too. In other words, being under surveillance from specialized army structures even as of then, I assure you that, had I had anything else, I would have been with tons of papers here at the DNA,” Dobritoiu said. Referring to his selling the apartment for a price a lot higher than that it was purchased, Dobritoiu said it was fully renovated, and this was also taken into account when sold later on. “The apartment was renovated, had been uninhabitable, and many of the building residents could tell you how the apartments looked like when they were handed over to them. The apartment required major investments, and the market value took that into account as well,” Dobritoiu said.The National Liberal Party (PNL) senator also said that he wouldn’t have sold the apartment unless his wife had been attacked at the building entrance by unknown assailants, and she thought the area was unsafe. “My wife was attacked at the building entrance one evening and that was when we decided to move out. My wife deemed the area as unsafe, and that made me renounce it,” Corneliu Dobritoiu explained.

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