Premier Victor Ponta was hospitalized in a clinic in Turkey in order to undergo surgery on the knee he injured during a recent basketball game. Because of this reason, the Premier’s lawyer showed up at the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) on Monday morning where she asked the postponement of the Premier’s hearing in the Rovinari-Turceni case in which PSD Senator Dan Sova is also investigated. Ponta should have been heard by prosecutors at 10 a.m.
Premier Victor Ponta underwent a medical check-up on his knee on Thursday, after suffering an injury during a basketball game. On the basis of the MRI the doctors established that the Premier has torn ligaments and recommended surgery.
The Premier injured his leg during a basketball game on May 25, right before his trip to Tirana where he attended the summit of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP).
Victor Ponta is criminally investigated in the Turceni-Rovinari case, being accused of forgery in private documents (17 counts), complicity to tax evasion and money laundering, crimes allegedly committed while he was a lawyer (legal representative of the “Ponta Victor-Viorel” Individual Lawyer’s Office).
The accusations have to do with the fact that Victor Ponta allegedly benefitted from an important part of the sums that the “Sova & Associates” law firm obtained from the Turceni and Rovinari energy holdings, despite the fact that he did not offer any kind of services on the basis of the convention of collaboration signed by the two law firms.
In the same case, prosecutors consider that Victor Ponta should also be prosecuted for three counts of conflict of interest, one of them recurrent. These crimes allegedly have to do with his position as Prime Minister.
According to the DNA, he is accused of appointing Dan Sova Minister for the Relation with Parliament, Minister for National Infrastructure Projects and Foreign Investments and Transport Minister against the backdrop in which the Premier allegedly benefitted in the past from financial benefits from Sova and from the right to use an auto vehicle free of charge.
For these three counts of conflict of interest the DNA notified the Lower Chamber in order for the latter to approve the criminal prosecution. The Lower Chamber’s plenum rejected the start of the criminal prosecution against the Premier last Tuesday.
President Iohannis: I found out about PM’s visit to Baku after he had left
On Monday, President Iohannis expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that Premier Victor Ponta left for Baku, Azerbaijan, on his own, but also with the fact that the Premier left for Turkey to undergo surgery, without informing the President prior to that, just like he did in April back when the Prime Minister paid a working visit to Arab states.
“I found out that the Prime Minister went to Baku from sources as you put it, after he had left,” the President told journalists at the Otopeni Airport.
Asked whether he has talked with Victor Ponta in the last two days, whether Ponta has even called to congratulate him on his birthday, considering that the President turned 56 on Saturday, Iohannis answered negatively: “He has called me neither for Baku, nor for “Happy Birthday,” nor for Turkey.”
When asked how he will collaborate with the Prime Minister with no information from him on foreign policy topics, Iohannis replied: “Yes. The question is good. I haven’t got an answer yet.”
Likewise, journalists asked the Head of State for a comment on the fact that in an interview for France’s “L’Express” Ponta expressed his disappointment with the President’s attitude by saying that the President no longer played the role of arbiter in recent days and sided with the Liberals against the backdrop of pressures from his entourage.
“He probably understood that the expectations the electorate has from me are some kind of pressures. I don’t know if that is so, but I truly feel a deep obligation toward Romanians to make sure that in Romania corruption should be eradicated as much as possible,” Iohannis said.
Referring to the fact that PNL did not manage to mobilize itself very well in order to topple the Ponta Government with the no-confidence motion last week, Iohannis stated: “This was the level of mobilization possible, I don’t think I can say more about that here,” and added that “I always hope for the best,” referring to a new no-confidence motion.
Deputy Prime Minister Oprea will be in charge of Prime Minister’s tasks over June 16-19
Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea will be in charge of the Prime Minister’s tasks related to the operative activity of the Government over June 16-19.
The decision belongs to Victor Ponta and was published on Monday in the Official Journal.