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September 19, 2020

Parliament to vote today on lifting the immunity of former ministers Dan Sova and Darius Valcov

The Senate will vote today on the requests to approve the preventive arrest of PSD Senator Dan Sova and of former Finance Minister Darius Valcov. The two requests will be voted during the same plenum meeting, Juridical Commission Chairman Catalin Boboc (PNL) announced on Monday. He pointed out that the commission’s report is ready in the Dan Sova case, but Florina Ruxandra Jipa (UNPR) forgot to sign it so the procedures have been delayed as a result.

“I know that as a rule Mrs. Jipa is not late, does not miss meetings, she never had. Today she did,” Boboc told journalists.

Asked whether he asked his colleague for explanations, the chairman of the commission stated: “Yes. She was a bit late, she forgot. I don’t know what the truth was, that’s what I understood.”

In what concerns the documents concerning Darius Valcov, they have reached the juridical commission which will issue its report “by tomorrow,” Boboc added.

“As soon as we open them and take them over we will summon Mr. Valcov too. Starting today the Senator can see them,” the PNL Senator added. Asked why the vote in the Sova case does not take place today, Catalin Boboc stated: “The Permanent Bureau has decided to place it on the order of the day. The Senate Speaker will probably explain that the whole day tomorrow would have been lost with that vote.”

Likewise, asked whether the legally-stipulated deadline will be missed in the Sova case in case the vote takes place today, Catalin Boboc answered: “As far as I know we are within that deadline. Maybe they calculated too.”

The PNL Senator expressed his dissatisfaction in what concerns the postponement of the vote. “Every time I asked and I always ask: Why should we tarry these issues that do no good to anyone?”

At the same time, he confirmed that the Liberals will reveal their votes, as announced by Alina Gorghiu and Teodor Atanasiu. “Yes, why not? No mandate was given, but we all decided that we will vote transparently.”

The Juridical Commission has issued a favourable report on the request to place Dan Sova under preventive arrest. The report was issued on March 18.

The prosecutors said that Darius Valcov, former Slatina mayor, had received “from 2010 to 2013 approximately EUR 2 M, partly directly in cash and the rest of RON 2.48 M via companies.” In the criminal investigation documents, the prosecutors state that Darius Valcov’s criminal activity began six years ago.

The Senate’s Juridical Commission failed to issue its approval of the preventive arrest of Darius Valcov on Tuesday, the number of votes in favour being insufficient. Thus, 5 members of the commission voted in favour of the DNA request, 5 voted against it and a member of the commission abstained.

The Juridical Commission’s negative report is a recommendation and will be voted on, on Wednesday, alongside the request to have Dan Sova arrested. The Juridical Commission had previously issued a favourable report, at a score of 6-5.

PSD Senator Dan Sova is accused on three counts of being an accessory to malfeasance in office. Investigators took this action in the case concerning the contracts that Sova’s law firm signed with the Turceni and Rovinari energy centres. Prosecutors have data and evidence according to which Sova filed to the case handled by the DNA several false documents in an attempt to prove his innocence. Moreover, he ordered the destruction of all harddrives in his law firm in order to hide the email correspondence between the law firm and the leaderships of the two energy centres. According to a communiqué issued by anticorruption prosecutors, the criminal investigation reveals that in 2007-2009 Dan Sova signed several contracts and addenda between the “Sova & Associates” law firm and the Rovinari Energy Centre (CER) and Turceni Energy Centre (CET). Likewise, prosecutors concluded that as “coordinating lawyer” – a title explicitly mentioned in all those contracts – Sova took part in several talks concerning the goal of the said documents, went to the headquarters of CER and CET and of other institutions, effectively contributing to the closing of these contracts and addenda. Moreover, he also offered legal consulting services on the basis of these contracts and addenda.

Also today, the Lower Chamber will vote on the prosecutors’ request in the case concerning Liberal MP Theodor Nicolescu, after the Juridical Commission decided on Monday to issue a favourable report on the DNA request to place him under arrest.

Liberal MP Theodor Nicolescu is prosecuted in the case concerning illegal restitutions, a case in which Horia Georgescu has been arrested. The Liberal is accused of passive bribery and three counts of severe malfeasance in office.


PNL MPs to vote “openly”. PSD “accepts Prosecutor’s Office’s requests”


Social-Democrat Georgica Severin stated that the PSD line is to accept the Prosecutor’s Office’s requests, but normally no Senator can be forced to vote differently than his own conscience dictates.

PSD Senator Georgica Severin stated for RFI that it is hard to say how the PSD Senators will vote on the Darius Valcov and Dan Sova cases.

“It is hard to say. The vote is not imperative according to the Constitution and any form of attempting to impose an imperative vote exceeds the Constitutional framework. Apart from this theoretical aspect, the party’s line is to accept the Prosecutor’s Office’s requests, but at the same, normally, naturally, no Senator can be forced to vote in any way other than in line with his own conscience,” Georgica Severin pointed out.

Severin added that PNL’s decision to film its own MPs’ votes is illegal. “When is the law broken, when you force the vote and basically exert some kind of blackmail, by filming it and threatening to put it online, seriously breaking the Parliament’s organization law, or when you allow MPs to vote based on their own conscience?” Severin asked.

PNL MP Alina Gorghiu wrote on Tuesday on Facebook that “the Sova-Valcov package is PSD super-offer on immunity.” At the same time, she claimed that PNL will not oppose the measures the DNA has asked for in the two cases, the vote not being secret. In recent days we have had signals that PSD is preparing to raise a new anti-judiciary wall. More proof came in the form of the Permanent Bureau decision on Monday to tarry the vote in the plenum for Senator Sova, in order for both DNA requests to be voted on Wednesday. The Sova-Valcov package is PSD super-offer on immunity! I call on the Senators of all parties to understand that Parliament is not a court of law and that the vote does not concern the guilt of any representative but the free course of justice in Romania,” Alina Gorghiu wrote.


New arrest request for Valcov


On Tuesday, the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi asked the High Court’s Prosecutor’s Office to request the Senate’s approval of the criminal prosecution, detainment and arrest of former Finance Minister Darius Valcov, who is charged with influence peddling. According to a DNA communiqué,  while he was Senator and Minister Darius Valcov allegedly received undue benefits including 3 gold bars weighing 3 kilograms, a painting with gold frame, a painting and a painting on wood.


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