Constitutional Court Judge Toni Grebla, criminally investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), has chosen not to resign but take leave. He was charged with influence peddling, setting up an organised criminal group and financial operations as acts of trade incompatible with his position, for obtaining money or undue goods. The plenary meeting of the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) met last night to take note of judge Grebla’s affidavit communicated to CCR President Augustin Zegrean, on his activity that might attract incompatibility with his term under the law. Toni Grebla states in the affidavit that he had and has no activities that could attract incompatibility with his term as judge of the Constitutional Court, according to a CCR release.
‘Having in view what ahs been declared, the plenary meeting of the Constitutional Court has decided that Section 62 of the Regulation of the Constitutional Court, according to which ‘Constitutional Court judges are disciplinary liable for breaking Section 62 of Law No. 47/1992, republished’ does not apply, and therefore a disciplinary action may not be considered against Judge Toni Grebla’, the CCR release states.
Since the resignation is a unilateral legal act, the plenary meeting of the Constitutional Court could not force the judge to do that, and accepted his request to take annual leave. Under the labour law, T. Grebla is entitled to 35 working days of annual leave.
Augustin Zegrean: ‘He will no longer participate in judgement activities during this period’
CCR President Augustin Zegrean said Judge Toni Grebla does not wish to resign because, he claims, the allegations brought against him in the public space are not true. ‘He doesn’t wish to resign because, he says, the allegations that have been made public are not true and are not of a nature to lead to a conviction. He will no longer participate in judgement activities during this period,’ Zegrean said in connection with the decision of Toni Grebla, currently under investigation for corruption, to take his annual leave.
The CCR president explained that, legally, ‘judges have 35 working days annual leave’. ‘He will go on leave tomorrow morning’, Zegrean noted.
The president of the Constitutional Court added that a way to determine Grebla’s incompatibility would be the existence of a paper with the Trade Register to show that the judge is engaged in commercial activities.
Toni Grebla: ‘This entourage I assumed when I didn’t believe I would go to CCR’
Toni Grebla said in a telephone intervention on Antena 3 TV that ‘his resignation would make CCR’s activity vulnerable’. The judge noted that it would be best not to participate in the Court activities for a while. Toni Grebla also said that, should he resign office, he would look guilty. ‘All my colleagues agreed that a resignation at this point would be inappropriate from a number of points of view’, Toni Grebla said.
He stated on B1 TV that he knew Ion Bircina, together with whom he is mentioned in the DNA case, before he became a Constitutional Court judge and that he has no intention to recant his relationships. ‘I have known Ion Bircina since before 1997, when I was in no public office. We have remained in very good relations. This entourage is the one that I assumed at a time when I didn’t suspect I would go to CCR and, obviously, I am not going to recant it now. I have no intention to terminate our relationship. I cannot just erase that’, Grebla said. ‘In my opinion the sanction is not the solution in the fight against a criminal phenomenon, prevention is’, the magistrate also said. As for his leave, he said ‘it is a way of protecting the image of the Court in this complicated period’.
Monica Macovei: ‘CCR judges are slapping Romanians’
MEP Monica Macovei says the CCR judges should take distance from their colleague who is under criminal investigation, Toni Grebla, and urge him to resign. CCR’s credibility is compromised as long as Grebla remains in office, Macovei believes.
‘As long as one is on leave, they may not be dismissed and the employment agreement may not be terminated. The incompatibility is a reason for which the term of a CCR judge may be terminated. The situation is about hurting CCR’s public image. This is what Toni Grebla did. There is no more CCR credibility because he remains there. He is not asked to go. It is very difficult to still have trust in such an institution: he is charged with serious offences, he goes on leave and his colleagues let him. I feel sorry for the Court’, Macovei stated on B1 TV. .
‘I would stop judging any matters until he resigns, for he is a shame. Grebla and the other judges are only slapping Romanians’, she said.