Details from DNA case against former Interior Minister and Deputy Premier: Gabriel Oprea allegedly hiked his motorcade’s police detail

Senators have barely returned from parliamentary recess and they have to take a decision on the National Anticorruption Directorate’s (DNA) request to approve the prosecution of former Deputy Premier Gabriel Oprea. Senators have to study the 15 case files compiled by DNA prosecutors, and the final vote will be cast within the Senate’s plenum. The result of the vote should be predictable because both PNL and PSD have announced that they will vote in favour of the anticorruption prosecutors’ request.

Moreover, Senator Gabriel Oprea asked his colleagues last week to approve the DNA’s request, arguing that the period needed to establish the truth should not be extended. Former minister Gabriel Oprea sent a letter to Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu and Judiciary Commission Chairman Catalin Boboc in this sense.

DNA prosecutors accuse Oprea of illegally using an official motorcade 1,607 times during a period of 10 months last year, back when a police officer lost his life while assigned to his motorcade’s detail.

According to some sources, investigators have found out that Romania’s Attorney General Tiberiu Nitu allegedly had a motorcycle policeman permanently at his disposal, while Gabriel Oprea personally hiked the police detail escorting him.

Thus, Tiberiu Nitu allegedly had a motorcycle policeman at his disposal not only in the morning and evening, when driving to and from the High Court of Justice’s Prosecutor’s Offices, as stipulated by the Interior Ministry’s protocol, but also during other daytime rides through Bucharest, sources quoted by Realitatea TV and B1 TV inform.

According to DNA prosecutors, the motorcycle policeman was permanently posted at the High Court of Justice’s Prosecutor’s Office.

So far, Tiberiu Nitu has no legal quality in the case in which the approval of prosecuting Gabriel Oprea is being demanded.

At the same time, according to the same sources, when he took over the office of Interior Minister, Gabriel Oprea had a single police team at his disposal, however the police detail was supplemented with a police officer tasked with coordinating the mission, in November 2014, and in 2015 with another traffic police agent, a motorcycle policeman.

In other words, Gabriel Oprea used three police teams, not based on a written order but on a verbal order, which nevertheless has the same value as the former, according to the sources quoted by Realitatea TV.

Both Gabriel Oprea and Tiberiu Nitu consider themselves innocent and claim they acted in line with the existing legal framework.

Gabriel Oprea explained on Saturday in Brasov that the Romanian Attorney General “has the rank of minister” and the Interior Ministry signed the protocol “bearing in mind that, under certain conditions, he has certain important missions,” Agerpres informs.

“It is a protocol between the two partner institutions; the Interior Ministry is working with the Attorney General’s Office. The Attorney General has the rank of minister and all those from the leadership of the Interior Ministry, all specialists, signed and drafted this protocol, as specialists, bearing in mind that under certain conditions he has certain important missions,” Gabriel Oprea stated after a UNPR meeting in Brasov.

He added that it is normal for any complaint to be investigated by prosecutors, and in what concerns the accusations brought against him he reiterated that he is “innocent and will prove his innocence” and he has “confidence in the judiciary.”

Asked whether he will take part in the Judiciary Commission hearings, Oprea stated: “I have a lawyer, I’ll see whether I’ll go there.”

One of the counts of malfeasance in office Gabriel Oprea is accused of has to do with the signing of a protocol on whose basis the Attorney General allegedly illegally benefitted from an official motorcade.

Attorney General Tiberiu Nitu claims that he benefitted solely from the protection measures stipulated by law and it is his duty to make sure that the Public Ministry’s activity will take place under normal conditions during this period.

PM Ciolos asks JusMin to analyse legal conditions to dismiss General Prosecutor

Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos on Monday evening said he asked Justice Minister Raluca Pruna to analyse rigorously the situation of General Prosecutor Tiberiu Nitu, saying that so far there is no formal legal proceeding against the latter.

“The is looking into and is analyzing these things rigorously. These are not things to play with, there is no formal legal proceeding commenced against Mr. Nitu. We could say there are a few matters of integrity here, because he is assimilated to a dignitary. (…) I’ve asked the to analyse, according to the law, what are the conditions in which the Prosecutor General could be revoked from office, and that procedure should be very clear to us and for the public debate and, pending on it, we’ll make a decision,” Ciolos told a press conference at the Victoria Palace (the Government’s Seat).

He also said that the Justice Minister has participated earlier on Monday in the first part of the working meeting he had with President Klaus Iohannis, to inform him about Nitu’s case.

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