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February 1, 2023

Adoption of amnesty law would have killed anticorruption fight

All the cases handled by National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors and involving heavyweights from the world of politics and business, cases for which Romania has ended up being praised in the international press lately, could have been for naught had the amnesty law been adopted. The law was rejected within the Lower Chamber on Tuesday and its fate will soon be decided by the Senate.
Several politicians convicted for corruption would have benefitted from this law, since they could have been released from jail or absolved of any wrongdoing. Among them would have been Adrian Nastase, who was sentenced to four years in jail after the merger of the sentences issued against him in the ‘Quality Trophy’ and ‘Zambaccian’ cases. Nastase was released under probation in August 2014 after he served seven months and a half in jail, and the amnesty law would have cancelled the ban placed on his exercise of certain rights, such as the right of voting and being voted in public office and the right to hold any office that involves the exercise of state authority. Consequently, the former prime minister would have been able to reenter politics and to hold public office.
Dan Voiculescu, the controversial and influential businessman and media owner, would also have benefitted from the amnesty law had it been adopted. Voiculescu was sentenced to ten years in jail in the case concerning the privatization of the Food Research Institute, on the basis of the same article of law that saw Nastase sentenced in the ‘Quality Trophy’ case. In this case he was accused of using his influence as party leader in order to obtain unlawful benefits, while in a different case he was accused of blackmail.
Microsoft case would have been cleansed
The famous Microsoft case journalists from a number of countries have covered, praising the fight against corruption and the progress made down that road by Romania lately targets a total of nine ministers in the Nastase Government and in the Boc 1, 2 and 3 Governments, who would have also benefited from the amnesty and pardon law if it had been adopted. They are PSD Senators PSD Ecaterina Andronescu, ex-Education Minister and Serban Mihailescu, ex-SGG Coordinating Minister, charged with abuse of office, influence peddling and bribe-taking, MEPs Dan Nica and Adriana Ticau and ex-Ministers Gabriel Sandu, Daniel Funeriu, Alexandru Athanasiu and Mihai Tanasescu.
Gigi Becali would have got out
The controversial businessman Gigi Becali, sentenced to three years and six months in orison in the ‘Suitcase’ affair and in a second one, regarding the swap of land with the Ministry of Defence, would have finally been set free if the amnesty and pardon bill had been adopted. The same applies to Dan Sova, accused of pillage of Rovinari and Turceni energy complexes and perhaps even Viorel Hrebenciuc and Constanta Mayor Radu Mazare, on trial in a corruption case in connection with the illegal restitution of land in Constanta and Mamaia, who could have also walked free.
In the same situation would have been Nicusor Constantinescu, referred to court in three corruption cases, charged with abuse of office and bribe taking.
Under the amnesty and pardon law, Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea would have got rid of his referendum case where he is on trial for fraud committed during the referendum on 29 July 2012 for the impeachment of President Traian Basescu.
Ex-Senator Catalin Voicu, currently serving a seven year custodial sentence at Rahova Prison for influence peddling could have also been forgiven. Voicu was convicted on the charge of influence peddling.
By amnesty, the perpetrator of criminal offences is forgiven of both the service of the sentence and the consequences of the sentence which may continue after release. The pardon only suspends the service of the sentence, without exonerating the person of his/her criminal liability. It means that a convicted person may have his/her sentence partially or totally removed, but the criminal consequences added to the convictions are not written off.

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