POLITICS

Motorcycle policeman death scandal : Liberals file simple motion against vice-premier, Oprea not resigning. “I am not guilty”

The opposition on Tuesday filed in the Senate a simple motion against Minister of Internal Affairs Gabriel Oprea.

The document titled “Gabriel Oprea dismissed for defiance, arrogance, contempt and abuse of public office” is signed by 49 Liberal and unaffiliated Senators.

“On behalf of the Liberal group and of several unaffiliated Senators I want to officially hand to you the simple motion titled ‘Gabriel Oprea, dismissed for defiance, arrogance, contempt and abuse of public office’. (…) I add that this political move by the parliamentary group of the National Liberal Party (PNL) is prompted by the intense public attention to the gross abuse this high dignitary of the Romanian state has been repeatedly committing lately and which, as you saw, has culminated with the death of a police officer who, in our opinion, was illegally riding in Oprea’s official motorcade,” the PNL deputy floor leader Octavian Motoc said in the opening of the Senate plenary sitting.

According to the session chairman, the Senate’s Social-Democrat Deputy Speaker Ioan Chelaru, the date when the motion will be discussed and subjected to the Senators’ vote will be established by Senate Speaker Calin Popescu-Tariceanu.


“I am not guilty”

Gabriel Oprea issued a press release on Monday stressing that he was not responsible and that he would carry on in the Government, answering President Klaus Iohannis who had advised him to resign office.
National leader of the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR), deputy prime minister and interior minister argues that ”resignation at this level of responsibility and, implicitly, taking the blame where there is none cannot be political coins or media artifices.”

”At the meeting this evening [with President Iohannis at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace], President Iohannis indeed advised me to consider pulling out of the Government for the communication management of the past days. I believe that the implications of the statement are not organisational, but purely political. The piece of advice from President Iohannis can be seen in the context of the options frequently voiced by him regarding the political colour of the Government. Nevertheless, I believe that the timeliness of a resignation always has to do with truth and law, irrespective of circumstances. There is currently a criminal probe underway, and the most important thing to me, my colleagues in the ministry, the family of [deceased police officer] Bogdan Gigina is for the truth to come out,” Oprea said according go Agerpres.

Oprea mentioned that he will be consistent in securing the political stability of the Government of which he is a member and his position was reported to the President.

Oprea also said he assured Iohannis that their institutional relationship will continue, meaning that the UNPR will continue support for the President’s national security projects, and do the same for the Government headed by Prime Minister Victor Ponta.

”Resignation at this level of responsibility and, implicitly, taking the blame where there is none cannot be political coins or media artifices. When there is the rule of law, observing the law is more important than political games or image gains, and I will always adhere to the law. Consequently, as far as I am concerned, things are clear: I am not guilty and that is why I will continue to work with the Government. I informed Mr President and I am hereby informing the public opinion as well about my consistent attitude of securing the political stability of the Government of which I am a member, and of keeping my word. I can assure President Klaus Iohannis that our institutional relationship will continue within normal limits, that the UNPR will continue the support for the national security projects of Romania’s President, the same as it will continue to support the Government headed by Victor Ponta. Besides the public emotion, I believe statesmen are obligated to listen to reason first and always refer to the law,” Oprea concluded the statement.
President Klaus Iohannis on Monday evening said he had a conversation with Deputy PM Gabriel Oprea about the accident that left one police officer dead in the line of duty as part of Oprea’s official motorcade, saying that he advises him to step down. He said his advice to Gabriel Oprea is the result of a poor management of the crisis that followed the accident.


‘It will be proved where I was coming back from’

Home Affairs Minister Gabriel Oprea said on Tuesday that he was returning from ‘institutions of the Romanian state’ when the accident where the policeman Bogdan Gigina lost his life happened. He also said he would answer all the prosecutors’ questions as a witness. Judicial sources say Gabriel Oprea would be invited to the Bucharest Tribunal Prosecutor’s Office this week.
‘I was at work, it will be proved, it will be proved where I was coming back from. We must say these things at the prosecutor’s office. It will be proved at the prosecutor’s office where I had been, I had been to institutions. Institutions of the Romanian state, this will be said at the prosecutor’s office’, Oprea said.
‘I will answer, as a witness, all questions. It’s normal, the rest of my colleagues have also answered’, Oprea further noted.


“The prosecutor’s office will establish the truth”

Asked what was the urgency of his travel on 20 October to require the presence of a traffic police escort in his convoy, Minister Oprea said: ‘the urgency, it is a police team every minister of interior has always had, there are norms, instructions and the prosecutor’s office will establish the truth. We have nothing to hide, I was at work, the tragedy is that a colleague dies on duty’.
Asked about the speed the official convoy was riding at, Oprea answered: ‘The speed will be determined by the prosecutor’s office. Under the law, we may not say anything about the case’.
Gabriel Oprea’s private adviser and the driver of his car on the night of the accident were interviewed by the prosecutors on Tuesday.
According to Mediafax, the prosecutors have received the information requested from Distrigaz, who were conducting repairs in Stirbei Voda Boulevard, where the policeman fell together with his motorcycle into a hole and partly from the Bucharest Municipality. Answers have been also received from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MAI), but further information is still requested, the inert-institutional communication being ongoing, the quoted sources also note.


Abuses Committee declined PNL’s request to hear the minister

The Abuses Committee of the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday declined the request made by the Chairman of the Committee, Mircea Man (PNL) for Home Affairs Minister Gabriel Oprea to be heard, but decided to ask the chief of the Police and the Bucharest Municipality for information to see how the two institutions cooperate in the matter of official convoys.

The opposition on Tuesday filed in the Senate a simple motion against Minister of Internal Affairs Gabriel Oprea.
The document titled “Gabriel Oprea dismissed for defiance, arrogance, contempt and abuse of public office” is signed by 49 Liberal and unaffiliated Senators.

According to the session chairman, the Senate’s Social-Democrat Deputy Speaker Ioan Chelaru, the date when the motion will be discussed and subjected to the Senators’ vote will be established by Senate Speaker Calin Popescu-Tariceanu.

UNPR vice-President Eugen Nicolicea said on Tuesday that the motion introduced by PNL against Minister Gabriel Oprea cannot be debated on, as, under the regulation, the Speaker of the Senate does not hold debates on regular motions that have a finality specific for a no-confidence vote.


Interim mayor of Bucharest exposes history of father hole

Stefanel Marin Dan, the interim Mayor of Bucharest, on Monday gave a series of explanations on the road accident in which a policeman lost his life.

‘On 15 October, Distrigaz identified gas leaks in Stirbei Voda Boulevard. On 16 October, they commissioned a company authorised by the Municipality to intervene on the carriageway to do the repairs. On 16 October, the company started working in the area.

The intervention authorisation is valid for 48 hours. On the 18th, they found hat the defect had not been remedied. Distrigaz and the contactor say the intervention required more time. (…) On the 18th, they were supposed to close the worksite after the first authorisation. Under the law, they may obtain a second authorisation for another 48 hours if the work cannot be completed. (…) The work was going to be finished around 21 October. On the 21st, at 9pm, they completed their intervention’, the official said on Realitatea TV.

He also disclosed the fact that, when the contractor has obtained the authorisation from the Municipality, it must notify the Bucharest Traffic Police to deploy the needed traffic signs.

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