Corruption charges involved. The Constanta Mayor was taken by masked police officers to the DNA. PM Ponta and other local PSD leaders defend the Mayor.
Another Social-Democrat fiefdom has been rocked yesterday by a corruption row, this time having Mayor Radu Mazare at its center. National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors searched the Constanta City Hall and the home of Mayor Radu Mazare, a home located on the shore of Siutghiol Lake in Mamaia, in a case that concerns corruption charges.
The DNA subsequently pointed out that the prosecutors conducted searches at 12 addresses in Constanta, Bucharest and Dambovita, including the headquarters of public institutions, in a case concerning alleged acts of corruption committed in 2011-2013 by public servants that held leading positions. The representatives of the Constanta City Hall also issued a communique, pointed out that the searches conducted by the DNA prosecutors at the headquarters of the institution concerned the construction of the city’s social housing project, the investigators requesting the documents concerning that project.
Radu Mazare was taken by masked police officers to the DNA on Tuesday. He stated that the action is part of “the prosecutors’ games” and that he was aware he was under investigation ever since 2005. Asked whether he is afraid of jail, Radu Mazare stated: “I’m not afraid of jail, I’m only afraid of God.”
Constanta Mayor Radu Mazare stated ever since March 24 that he is in the DNA’s crosshairs, in an investigation concerning the way in which the city’s social housing district was built, the prosecutors asking the City Hall for several documents concerning the investment that totaled EUR 7 M.
“I will show you today how independent and impartial justice is served in Basescu’s republic. (…) In Constanta I built at the cheapest price in Romania and I want to continue building, in order to put an end to the problem of the homeless; Basescu’s DNA is investigating and charging me, but does absolutely nothing about Videanu who bought at prices ten times higher,” Mazare stated back then during a press conference organized in the social housing district.
Just like he did in the case of other local Social-Democrat leaders, such as Adrian Duicu from Mehedinti, PSD President and Premier Victor Ponta came to Mazare’s defence, stating in his turn too that Mazare is the victim of the judiciary controlled by President Basescu. Commenting on the information concerning the searches in Constanta, Ponta stated that “I don’t think they can manage 7.4 million by November,” referring to the number of persons that voted in favour of impeaching President Basescu. Consequently the PSD leader pointed out that he thinks very highly of Radu Mazare, like most citizens of Constanta do, and claimed that “a wave of investigations” meant to prevent the USL from being voted in the general elections started in 2012 too, after the impeachment referendum. “There will be searches everywhere. I hold the same position; namely that a wave of investigations started in 2012 too, after the referendum, in the belief that people would not vote for USL that December, but they did. And now they will vote for us. Radu Mazare is a person I appreciate very much, who has been voted by Constanta’s citizens so many times and he hangs on like everyone else,” Ponta said.
The Premier has in fact told the county council chairmen meeting at the Palace of Parliament under the aegis of the National Union of Romanian County Councils that an entire propaganda machine that detests them is working against them, something they should have expected, pointing out that he and the government will support them.
Ponta’s statements were reinforced by Vrancea County Council Chairman Marian Oprisan who stated that he will repeat what the party’s president said, namely that 7.4 million Romanians cannot be arrested until November. Asked who could be next in the crosshairs of the judiciary, Oprisan said that he is not worried at all, proposing at the same time that mayors and county council chairmen should be investigated without being detained if they have legal problems.
In reply, DNA Chief Prosecutor Codruta Kovesi stated yesterday that the Directorate does not investigate persons based on their party membership, the institution’s jurisdiction covering the investigated persons’ public servant positions or public positions. Kovesi pointed out that the criminal prosecution started in the case in which several searches were conducted, including at the home of Mayor Radu Mazare, adding that this case concerns actions that fall within the Directorate’s jurisdiction.
Prosecutors claim Duicu engaged in intercession in Ponta’s office, PM denies
In parallel with the Mazare case, the press revealed yesterday that the DNA prosecutors’ case against Mehedinti County Council Chairman Duicu points out that the latter engaged in intercession right in PM Ponta’s office.
‘Gandul’ daily writes that Adrian Duicu allegedly offered his influence while he was in Victor Ponta’s office, telling County Police Inspectorate (IPJ) Chief Stefan Ponea that Interior Minister Radu Stroe was at the government headquarters at that time and that the Premier called General Police Inspectorate Chief Petre Toba. Duicu allegedly asked for IPJ Chief Stefan Ponea to be kept in office and then promoted, Ponea promising in return to get rid of the county council chairman’s incompatibility file. Investigators claim that the Premier allegedly summoned the Head of the Romanian Police at the government headquarters in order to satisfy Adrian Duicu’s requests. Duicu also allegedly promised that Elisabeta Ponea, Stefan Ponea’s wife, will be promoted at the General Prosecutor’s Office, but the attempt to “penetrate” the DNA failed. Adrian Duicu, Constantin Ponea and PSD Orsova President Constantin Popescu are under 30-day preventive arrest.
Asked for his comments on the information according to which he discussed with Petre Toba about the nomination of Stefan Ponea, PM Ponta pointed out that such a meeting did not take place in his office. Asked for a comment on the fact that the prosecutors claim that Mehedinti County Council Chairman Adrian Duicu engaged in intercession while in his office, Ponta denied the allegation.
“What intercession? Concerning me? I’ve read that, it doesn’t say that, please don’t spin it, thank you,” Ponta said. At first the Premier had stated he knows nothing and that the press will also receive more transcripts of recordings from his office. “I am absolutely convinced you will receive from prosecutors the recordings made in my office. There were a lot of Prime Ministers, there were heads of intelligence services, there were heads of institutions. Until then… I know that Duicu had a very good relation with two of your colleagues from B1, but that doesn’t mean he was engaged in intercession, all I know is that he was a very good friend,” Ponta said when asked by a B1 TV reporter about the information that published by ‘Gandul’ daily.