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January 31, 2023

DNA request on prosecuting Gabriel Oprea, approved by Senate Commission. Former Deputy Premier challenges DNA prosecutors’ prerogatives and blames “power game”

The Senate’s Judiciary Commission issued a favourable opinion on the DNA prosecutors’ request for the Senate to approve the start of their prosecution against Senator Gabriel Oprea, who is accused of malfeasance in office, according to parliamentary sources.

The Judiciary Commission’s decision to issue a favourable opinion on the DNA request was adopted with 9 votes in favour, one against and one abstention. The opinion is consultative, with the Senate’s plenum set to decide on whether to lift the UNPR Senator’s immunity. According to parliamentary sources, the plenum will be convened on Wednesday, at 10 a.m., in order to cast its vote.

Gabriel Oprea declared himself not guilty at the Judiciary Commission and even asked for the case file to be sent back because allegedly it falls under the prerogatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office, not of the DNA.

UNPR Senator Gabriel Oprea stated on Tuesday, when leaving the Senate’s Judiciary Commission, that he is innocent, that he always respected the law and never asked for anything in addition to what other former Interior Ministers benefitted from, suggesting that political games are behind his case file.

“I never asked for anything extra compared to the other Interior Ministers. (…) I am a man that has helped the judiciary, has respected the law and I understand very well the power game,” Oprea stated after he was heard within the Judiciary Commission that approved the request to have the former Interior Minister prosecuted for malfeasance in office in a case that concerns the use of official motorcades.

Oprea added that he fears nothing and no one as long as he knows he is innocent. He also claimed he acted on the basis of old orders dating back to 1999, which regulated the ministers’ use of official motorcades. “As a politician I understand this political moment very well,” Oprea added, refusing to clarify what he means by power game.

UNPR Senator Gabriel Oprea, former Interior Minister, has asked for his case file, which is within the Senate’s Judiciary Commission, to be sent back to DNA, challenging the competency of the two prosecutors that handled the case in which he is suspected of illegally using an official motorcade.

Possible vote within Parliament’s plenum on Wednesday

The DNA’s request to have the start of its prosecution against former minister Gabriel Oprea approved could be debated and put up for vote on Wednesday, if the members of the Senate’s Judiciary Commission file their report, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu announced on Tuesday.

The UNPR President asked Senators last week, through an open letter addressed to the Senate Speaker and the Chairman of the Judiciary Commission, to vote in favour of DNA’s request, without mentioning the possibility of filing his resignation.

Former Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea, currently Senator, is accused of malfeasance in office for assigning police details to escort him in traffic, a service that Prosecutor General Tiberiu Nitu also benefitted from, allegedly illegally, on the basis of a protocol.

DNA prosecutors have to obtain the Senate’s approval in order to start prosecuting Gabriel Oprea. In this sense, the DNA Chief Prosecutor sent to the ProsecutorGeneral the referral of the case in order for him to notify the Senate, as well as 15 volumes that consist of copies of the prosecution case file.

According to the DNA, Oprea is guilty of two counts of malfeasance in office. One concerns the use of the Interior Ministry’s human and material resources in order to illegally use police details that escorted him during his travels.
The other count concerns the signing of a protocol on whose basis Attorney General Tiberiu Nitu illegally benefitted from motorcades that included police details.

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