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August 15, 2022

Justice Minister, first reaction in Oprea Case

Justice Minister Raluca Pruna has asked Prosecutor General Tiberiu Nitu for explanations after his name appeared in the Oprea Case – a legal case that concerns official motorcades.

The Justice Minister stated that she will conduct an analysis. Pruna pointed out she will meet Nitu in order to talk about this case and she will then take a decision.

“I haven’t conducted a preliminary analysis that I could present to the press. We will talk today, I will finish my analysis and then I will come out publicly. I haven’t had the chance to talk with the Prosecutor General face-to-face. I have no idea whether he has any capacity in the case,” Pruna said at the end of the Government meeting on Wednesday.

Justice Minister Raluca Pruna met Prosecutor General Tiberiu Nitu on Wednesday. Nitu made no comments after he left the Justice Ministry building.

Senate sends Oprea Case to Judiciary Commission

The Senate’s Standing Bureau convened on Wednesday, at the request of Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu, and decided to approve the National Anticorruption Directorate’s (DNA) request to approve the start of the criminal prosecution against former Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea, currently UNPR Senator, and to forward it to the Judiciary Commission, in line with the procedure.

“The Standing Bureau has approved this request. We have sent it to the Judiciary Commission for analysis and the drafting of the opinion,” Calin Popescu Tariceanu announced at the end of the Standing Bureau meeting, a meeting convened during the parliamentary recess.

Asked on Wednesday when would the Judiciary Commission take a decision in the Oprea Case, Tariceanu pointed out that Parliament will reconvene next week.

“I can’t give you a date, most likely next week. The Judiciary Commission will convene on Tuesday, I don’t know when it will present its opinion,” the Senate Speaker stated, pointing out that he does not know when the plenum would vote on this case either.

Asked how ALDE Senators will vote, Tariceanu being Co-President of ALDE, he answered: “After the commission convenes, we will meet and decide on a point of view.”

When asked how many times he has used an official motorcade, which he is legally entitled to use, unlike the former Interior Minister, the ALDE Co-President gave an evasive answer.

“I couldn’t say. I don’t use the official motorcade. (…) I use a Dacia Duster and I don’t feel the need for it (for an official motorcade – editor’s note) in any way. I may use it if there are exceptional situations, if I were to be urgently summoned by the Head of State, but this hasn’t been the case,” he pointed out.

On Monday, the DNA officially asked Prosecutor General Tiberiu Nitu to notify the Senate about the filing of the request to approve the start of the criminal prosecution against Gabriel Oprea. The criminal prosecution concerns malfeasance in office and the obtaining of undue benefits because he allegedly illegally used an official motorcade, a service that Prosecutor General Tiberiu Nitu also allegedly used illegally on the basis of a protocol.

The Prosecutor General announced on Monday that he abstains from addressing the DNA request, leaving it to his first deputy. According to judicial sources, Prosecutor General Tiberiu Nitu allegedly used an official motorcade 700 times from April 2014 to October-November 2015.

Gabriel Oprea asks lifting of immunity

Former Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea sent a letter to the Senate Speaker and the Chairman of the Senate’s Judiciary Commission, asking the Senators to vote in favour of the request filed by the DNA.

The request needs the approval of a majority of lawmakers in a Parliamentary Chamber if the minister or former minister concerned is also a member of the Senate or Lower Chamber.

“I hereby inform you that I do not want to benefit from this procedural immunity, being of the opinion that the truth, namely my innocence, will be established. Consequently, I hereby ask my Senate colleagues to vote [in favour of] the criminal prosecution request, in order to avoid prolonging the period needed to establish the truth,” the UNPR President states in his letter.

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