The Superior Magistracy Council’s (CSM) Judiciary Inspection has taken note ex officio in the case concerning the death of police officer Bogdan Gigina. The inspectors will verify if the Bucharest Court’s Prosecutor’s Office is competent to investigate the death of the police officer that was in the lead of Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea’s official motorcade.
The decision came following press articles that suggested that Gabriel Oprea’s involvement in this case would make the case strictly the competence of the General Prosecutor’s Office or of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA).
The investigation that started in this case also entails the verifying of the way in which the Deputy Prime Minister was offered police escort on the night of the accident.
Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea stated on Wednesday when leaving the Prosecutor’s Office that he answered all of the prosecutors’ questions. Nevertheless he avoided answering most of the journalists’ questions.
“I answered all of the prosecutors’ questions; I was during work hours, I was doing my duty. I am not allowed to say anything else,” he said.
Gabriel Oprea stated again that on the night of the accident he was leaving a national security institution, but did not mention where he was travelling to.
“I had nothing beyond what other interior ministers had,” Gabriel Oprea said.
Asked whether there were 1,500 emergencies, Gabriel Oprea answered: “I made several trips and they are known at the Prosecutor’s Office. Always in order to do my duty.”
The leadership of the Chamber of Deputies refuses PNL request of founding an investigation committee on official columns
The Permanent Bureau of the Chamber of Deputies did not approve on Wednesday the request of the National Liberal Party (PNL) of founding an investigation committee targeting the way the system of assigning accompanying teams and of establishing official convoys worked. The refusal was justified by procedural reasons.
Therefore, the members of the Permanent Bureau of the Chamber of Deputies sent a request to the Ministry of Justice, to check whether an ongoing inquiry existed on the topic of official convoys”, Secretary General of the Chamber of Deputies Marcel Ciolacu announced, due to the reason that an investigation conducted by the Parliament may double one of judiciary authorities.
The decision was reached under the circumstances that Liberals submitted to the Permanent Bureau o request concerning the foundation of a Parliament committee of inquiry to investigate the manner accompanying teams of official convoys are assigned, respectively the conditions that must be fulfilled by people demanding such services, as well as the manner institutions and persons respect legal stipulations.
Also, the management of the Chamber of Deputies asked the judiciary committee to check whether the demand of PNL was legal, under the circumstances that it was supported by Deputies in the PND group, as well.
“There were two proposals voted for in the plenum of the Permanent Bureau. A written address to the Public Ministry, to the General Prosecutors’ Office, whether there was an ongoing investigation at this time on this topic. Another one was from behalf of Mr. Secretary (Laurentiu – editor’s note) Chirvasuta, to the Juridical Committee, a request regarding the existence of the actual and legal existence of the National Democrat Party group in the Romanian Parliament as, in order to establish an Investigation Committee, you need at least 50 members of the Parliament, signatures and the contribution of two Parliament groups”, Ciolacu declared.
Orban: The majority is building a shield around Oprea”
The Government majority is building a shield around Gabriel Oprea and prevents, by procedural pretexts, the foundation of the investigation committee initiated by the group of the National Liberal Party and of the group of the National Democrat Party. They used the following procedural trick: let us ask the Prosecutors’ Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice whether there was an ongoing investigation referring to the activity of the committee”, the PNL leader and Chamber Vice-President declared.
Orban mentioned that the object of activity of the committee, according to the draft decree presented by PNL, is not the investigation of the case of Internal Affairs Minister Gabriel Oprea and of the accident that involved a police officer in the official convoy of the Minister, but the investigation of the general set of rules that regulated the use of official convoys, the cases that required accompanying by police and official convoys by high official, expenses involved, the administrative documents referring to these convoys and the accompanying the official convoys provided, without any connection to the investigation that existed in this particular case.
“We consider that it is a ridiculous pretext of the majority to prevent an investigation destined to answer a question raised by the entire political opinion, which is why officers abuse this sign of power they are not entitled to, how official convoys are and whether they should be accompanied by police”, Ludovic Orban further mentioned.
The leader pof PNL Deputies, Eugen Nicolaescu, declared on Wednesday that Liberals submitted a request for founding an investigation committee that would concern the manner the assigning of accompanying teams and establishing official convoys worked.
Nicolaescu explained that the target of the investigation committee would be the inquiry concerning the last two years, 2014-2015, of the way the money was spent on official convoy and identifyinf legislative disparities on this law.
徹n the other hand, we would like to know the total sums spend on such things, whether they were according to legal frames or not and, obviously, the most important thing from my point of view, to identify all legal disparities, to see why some of the norms and instructions were not transparent, why they were kept secret and see what we have to do to improve the laws, to prevent such situations from occurring again , the Deputy further added.
APADOR-CH and the Academic Society of Romania ask DNA to investigate the abusive use of official convoys
The Association for the Defence of Human Rights (APADOR-CH) and the Academic Society of Romania (SAR) requested the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) to notify itself and to initiate an investigation concerning the abusive use of traffic police teams, after information published in the media that revealed Minister Gabriel Oprea has been using the official convoy in all his travels, even in those serving his personal interest, thus committing the offence of authority use for gaining undeserved benefits, stipulated in article 13 of Law No. 78/2000 regarding the combating of corruption offences.
“APADOR-CH and SAR request the National Anti-Corruption Directorate to investigate to accusations in the media regarding the abusive use of the traffic police teams. After the deadly accident that occurred on October 20, 2015, suffered by a police officer that was accompanying the automobile that transported the Internal Affairs Minister, there were reasonable suspicions presented by the media concerning the legality of ordering these measures of accompanying, that allegedly violated conditions referring to the emergency of the Minister’s travel, stipulated in article no. 223 in the Regulations of Applying Emergency Ordinance no. 195/2002 referring to circulation on public roads”, warns a press release issued by APADOR-CH.
Also, NGOs warned DNA concerning the declarations made in the media by several persons who introduced themselves as employees in the police department and who wished to keep their anonymity. According to them, there is a practice of requesting and ordering escorting measures for the Internal Affairs’ Minister’s car in all travels completed by him, which includes travels mde in personal interest or travels made in professional interest that required no emergency.
The press release also shows that article 13 of Law no. 78/2000 stipulates that the offence committed by a person that owns a leadership position in a party, a labour union or a business owners’ union, or inside of a juridical person without a patrimonial purpose, to use their influence or authority in order to gain money, goods or other undeserved benefits for themselves or other persons is punishable by one to five years in prison.
典he Ministry of Internal Affairs is a juridical person without a patrimonial purpose and, therefore, the leader of this Minister, as well as of any other Minister, actually, falls into the effects of the legal stipulations of this article. The undeserved benefit is the cost of the accompanying operations , the quoted document shows.
PSD’s Dragnea:I do not need SPP. I have never used an official convoy, it must be examined who needed these services.
President of the Social Democrat Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea declared on Wednesday that he did not need the Guard and Protection Service (SPP) and that he never used an official convoy, “not even accidentally”, mentioning that it must be examined who needed these services and that, most likely, Romania’s President was such person.
“No, (I do not need SPP – editor’s note). I have never been in an official convoy, not even accidentally”, Liviu Dragnea pointed out, asked whether he ever used his right to an official convoy during his term as a Minister and whether he needed SPP escort.
On the other hand, the PSD President pointed out that it should be seen who needed such official convoy and protection from behalf of SPP. Obviously, the Head of the State was most likely one of the officials that needed to benefit of these services, especially during the present regional security circumstances.
“I say that we should seriously give it a thought whether we need this kind of accompanying or not. A great amount of attention should be granted to these questions by the Guard and Protection Service and by other structures – and I am referring to Romania’s President. He might need protection in these regional security challenges. I do not know what so say”, Dragnea declared.
A week ago, the Government approved an emergency ordinance establishing that the leaders of Parliament parties will be entitled to free SPP guarding at request, with the approval of CSAT.
PNL’s Gorghiu: I will not demand SPP guarding. Solely high rank officials should be protected.”
“I will not request SPP guarding, although the emergency ordinance issued by the Government grants this possibility to party leaders. I have never benefited of guarding and protection and I think it should only be provided to high rank officials. With decency and without abuses”, Gorghiu wrote on Facebook.
The Government approved on October 14 an emergency ordinance establishing that Parliament party leaders will be entitled to free SPP guarding based on a request approved by the Supreme Council of Romania’s Defence (CSAT).