Prime Minister Victor Ponta told a private TV station on Sunday evening that the Finance Minister, Darius Valcov (photo) has sent his resignation to him on Sunday at noon.
The Prime Minister added that subsequently he talked with President Klaus Iohannis and that after the minister will finalise the Tax Code’s project, he will think about a name to fill in the vacancy at the Public Finances’ head.
President Iohannis has asked PM Ponta to start procedure of revoking Valcov
Previously, President Klaus Iohannis has asked Prime Minister Victor Ponta to start procedure of revoking Darius Valcov from Finance Minister.
“Given that the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors have decided the prosecution of the Finance Minister, Mr. Darius Valcov I would have expected that Mr. Valcov resigned from his position, thus understanding that he harms the Government’s activity and credibility, which never happened. Under these circumstances, I ask Prime minister Victor Ponta to start the procedure of revoking Mr. Darius Valcov from his position of Finances minister,” the message sent on Sunday by the head of state reads, as regards the prosecution of the Public Finances minister.
The DNA has announced on Friday night it has started the criminal prosecution of the Public Finances minister, Darius Valcov for influence peddling in his capacity of mayor of the city of Slatina.
“In 2009, the administrator of a commercial company has contacted Darius Valcov, who was a mayor at that time and forwarded him a proposition that, in exchange of offering support to influencing the decision makers within the contracting authority, with a view to win some bids of public works for objectives in the Slatina municipality, the towns of Scornicesti, Piatra Olt and Draganesti, he was to give Valcov 20 pct of the sums cashed (VAT-free), according to the execution contracts of the said works,” a DNA release informs.
Valcov received a bribe as consistent as RON 1 million wrapped in plastic bags
According to National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors, the Finance Minister allegedly received a bribe as consistent as RON 1 million wrapped in plastic bags. The information appears in the arrest request on the present Mayor of Slatina. Minister Darius Valcov used to meet the suspects in the file in the graveyard, to avoid being intercepted by prosecutors, reads the arrest request of the Mayor of Slatina, Minel-Florin Prina.
The document shows that a businessman contacted Darius Valcov, the Mayor of the Municipality of Slatina, whom he proposed that, in return for support in influencing decision-makers of the contracting institution, in order to win auctions for public works in the Municipality of Slatina, the cities Scornicesti, Piatra Olt and Draganesti and to pay him 20 per cent of the sums received (no VAT added) according to the contracts of the respective works.
After Valcov accepted the proposal, his company won the auctions organized as part of the project “The extension and rehabilitation of water and residual water systems in Olt County”, targeted on signing contracts with Olt Water Delivery Company for the following works: “Rehabilitation and extension of water and sewerage systems in the Municipality of Slatina”, “Rehabilitatition and extension of water and sewerage systems in the cities Draganesti-Olt and Piatra-Olt” and “Rehabilitation and extension of water and sewerage systems in the cities Scornicesti and Potcoava”. The businessman and Darius Valcov agreed that the sums of money would be handed out to the Mayor in cash, in RON, at the company headquarters.
Therefore, based on this agreement, starting with December 2010, Darius Valcov periodically appeared at the headquarters of the businessman’s company in Bucharest and received sums of money, in RON. These meetings occurred whenever the contracting institution, Olt Water Delivery Company made payments in the account of supplier Tehnologica Radion LTD.
Starting with the second half of 2012, the businessman could not continue making payments to Darius Valcov, due to financial issues his company was facing.
Under these circumstances, Darius Valcov introduced the businessman to the Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Slatina, Minel Prima, who knew about the fraudulent agreement between the businessman and Darius Valcov and decided, in order to hide the illegal provenience of the money, that the payment differences owed by the businessman would be paid by S. C. Tehnologica Radion LTD to S. C. Plus Confort, LTD, by signing three fictitious contracts of supplying goods and services. The company never supplied anything in return for the contracts they signed especially in this purpose.
The sums were sent, based on this false commercial relation and, during 2010 – 2012, Valcov Bogdan Darius received a sum representing the RON equivalent of EUR 1,500,000 – 2,000,000.
In order to justify payments, several additional documents were signed for the already existing frame contract and, after invoices were issued, the sums of money were transferred in the accounts of this company. All documents issued, respectively contracts, invoices, etc., were false, failing to justify a genuine commercial relation, merely masking these payments through commercial companies coordinated by close friends of Vice-Mayor Minel Prina, respectively Lucian Susala and Bogdan Timofte.
Basescu demanded Valcov’s dismissal on Facebook
Former President Traian Basescu took to Facebook on Saturday night to demand in a new note Finance Minister Darius Valcov’s immediate dismissal.
I know we are in the weekend, but Romania’s Finance Minister was charged with alleged corruption. (I do not say he is guilty!) Please, understand that any hour of delay in dismissing Finance Minister Valcov terribly affects our political trustworthiness abroad, on financial markets and on the rate of exchange. Dismiss Mr. Valcov before Monday comes (I hoped you would do it today). PS: If it was the Culture, Environment, Transportation, Youth and Sports Minister, perhaps you could have awaited until Monday”, Basescu wrote on Facebook.
PMP adopted a similar position
Traian Basescu’s people from PMP grabbed the message by the former President immediately and adopted a similar position in less than no time, in an attempt to force PM Victor Ponta to dismiss Finance Minister Darius Valcov.
PMP was outraged to hear, as well as the public opinion in the country and abroad, that Romania’s Government includes a Minister that was receiving bribes of millions of euro, in plastic bags, in graveyards. And it was not any Minister, but the Finance Minister, who controls the entire budget of the country.
Is this budget safe, if the modest budget of the Municipality of Slatina was damaged by the Mayor at that time, today’s Minister Darius Valcov, with millions of euro?
PSD and Victor Ponta must understand that, during the last few years, the sensitivity and rejection of corruption crimes by Romanians and by their foreign partners increased. Minister Valcov can no longer represent Romania internationally, he cannot stay at the same table with Euro-Atlantic partners, because Romania would lose its trustworthiness completely.
In civilised, democratic countries there are traditions and laws forcing Ministers to resign for much lesser deeds, compared to those of Minister Valcov.
Victor Ponta himself had declared in December 2014: “If DNA demands legal pursuit against me, I will definitely quit the Government. If DNA demands legal pursuit against a member of the Government, he will definitely resign.
When did Victor Ponta truly mean it: in December 2014 or right now, when he seems to ignore requests to dismiss Minister Valcov?
Romania’s Prime Minister must understand that the things at stake are not some person’s ambitions, but Romania’s trustworthiness and the confidence it grants to foreign investors and partners, whom Romania needs so much.
We already had a Minister, Relu Fenechiu, who almost left the Government wearing handcuffs, while another Minister, Liviu Dragnea, is now the defendant of a lawsuit.
Victor Ponta made a lot of noise that he would clean up PSD, after getting the message sent by Romanian’s votes on November 16. He has the opportunity to start today, if he wants to be trustworthy,” a press release issued by PMP announces.
MEP Catalin Ivand asked for ministers Valcov, Dragnea resignations
The member of the European Parliament, social-democrat Catalin Ivan said on Sunday, at Dobrovat, the Iasi County (northeast of Bucharest), in a press conference that minister Darius Valcov should resign from head of the Public Finances Ministry.
Catalin Ivan said that “one could not be a member of the Government as long as one is prosecuted,” as it is the case of minister Darius Valcov or of the Regional Development minister, Liviu Dragnea.
“It’s been a big deal case of the situation of our colleagues who are prosecuted – that they should leave the party, that they shouldn’t be members. I’ve heard Mr. Ponta saying recently that those who are prosecuted should leave the Government. These are not my words, they belong to the Prime minister. I’m demanding publicly the resignation of Mr. Valcov and of Mr. Dragnea. I agree with the Prime minister that one could not be prosecuted or having such serious suspicions upon one’s head. One should take a step back, so that one could not discredit the Government. The fact that Mr. Dragnea too is under very serious suspicions, under way investigations in a sensitive criminal case show that he as well must resign from the Government and from the Social Democratic Party (PSD) leading structures, too,” the MEP Catalin Ivan added.