President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday signed a decree discharging Tiberiu Nitu from the office of Romania’s Prosecutor General with the Supreme Court of Justice and Cassation.
Tiberiu Nitu announced on Tuesday he was resigning “as a gesture of responsibility and honour” after his name was linked to the scandal on the illegal use of motorcades.
“Although the CVM report [the European Commission’s Cooperation and Verification Mechanism report] validates the result of my work as head of the Public Prosecution Service, and so do data to be reported in March, as my name and the position I represent are artificially linked to a situation that might impact the image of the institution I manage, I have decided – as a gesture of responsibility and honour – to submit my resignation from the position of attorney general of the Prosecution Office with the Supreme Court of Justice and Cassation,” Nitu said in a press statement.
The Presidential Administration announced shortly afterwards that President Klaus Iohannis has received Nitu’s resignation and accepted it.
Tiberiu Nitu is mentioned by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) as an illegal beneficiary of police details, in a criminal case opened against former Internal Affairs Minister Gabriel Oprea.
Bogdan Licu: “I hope the interim period will be as brief as possible”
Prosecutor General’s First Deputy Bogdan Licu (photo L) will head the General Prosecutor’s Office on an interim basis.
Asked what he will do with the former interior minister’s case, given the fact that Bogdan Licu is suspected of plagiarizing his doctoral thesis coordinated by university professor Gabriel Oprea, he pointed out that the case will be forwarded to the DNA in order for it to follow the normal proceedings, and the forwarding will be made either by him or by his deputy Codrut Olaru. In what concerns the plagiarism accusations, the interim Prosecutor General refused to comment the topic, pointing out that there are competent institutions that are verifying the allegations.
“In line with the interior regulations, I will take over the office of Prosecutor General, ad interim,” Bogdan Licu announced on Tuesday evening after Tiberiu Nitu announced his resignation.
Licu pointed out that the resignation was unilateral and he found out about it after it was made public.
“It is an institution that works, nothing is irreplaceable,” Licu pointed out, adding that he will continue to work in order to fulfil the priorities set three years ago and that several reviews will follow in the upcoming period.
“I hope the interim period will be as brief as possible and we would have a Prosecutor General as soon as possible,” Licu added. Asked whether he sees himself appointed at the helm of the institution, Licu answered negatively.
Asked what he will do with the case that concerns the former Interior Minister, considering that Licu’s doctoral thesis was coordinated by university professor Gabriel Oprea, and Licu is suspected of plagiarism, he answered: “I will send it to the DNA for it to follow its course, Deputy Olaru or I.”
In what concerns the accusations of plagiarism and the way they affect the institution’s image, the interim Prosecutor General stated that “there is no point commenting on this topic. There are competent institutions that are verifying.”
Asked about the official motorcades’ issue, Licu stated that he did not discuss this topic with the former Prosecutor General.
“I did not receive any advice and I generally give my own advice,” Licu stated when asked whether Tiberiu Nitu gave him any advice before resigning.
JusMin Raluca Pruna: “It will be a transparent, open procedure”
Justice Minister Raluca Pruna stated on Wednesday that she is going to hold talks with representatives of the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM) to launch procedures to designate a new Prosecutor General, adding, however, that there was a lack of candidates.
“It will be a transparent, open procedure. (…) I will hold informal discussions with the CSM on Thursday and right away I will launch (the procedure – editor’s note). (…) The CSM’s opinion is not advisory. It is an opinion… I haven’t launched the procedure. Could anyone imagine that I have some candidates before launching a procedure?,” Raluca Pruna stated at the Justice Ministry headquarters.
Asked whether she had offered to former Prosecutor General Tiberiu Nitu the option to resign, Pruna answered: “I have not given Mr. Nitu any option. I congratulate him for the decision.”
Traian Basescu: “He was removed through blackmail”
Former President Traian Basescu stated on B1TV, after Tiberiu Nitu announced his resignation, that his resignation is a shameful act, especially bearing in mind the fact that his term in office would have expired two months from now. At the same time, Basescu stated that a blackmail is allegedly involved and Tiberiu Nitu was the victim of media pressure as a result of the scandal concerning official motorcades.
“I am looking at the international situation, and I am yet to hear an accusation against former Prosecutor General Nitu. Does anyone know of an accusation? On the other hand, we have all seen pressure exerted through all media means. Nitu insulted me after I finished my term. So I am not his friend. Every time he was going to CSM he was saying that the former president has 60, 70, 80 case files. He carried out a political game that did not honour him, that is why I do not have great respect for him; but what is done today has nothing to do with Nitu, who is a grease stain on the wall for me, but we are talking about the office of Prosecutor General. (…) I would dare say he was removed from office through blackmail. It seems it can happen to anyone in Romania in 2016.
I will tell you something serious: please read that white plaque outside the institution. It says Public Ministry. This office is equivalent to that of a minister. Coincidentally, this gentleman who was Prosecutor General and who stained this office by shamefully resigning, did not ask RAAPPS for a house in Bucharest. The Prosecutor General was commuting daily, using National Road 1. I don’t know whether you can show me many days in which NR1 does not register fatalities in traffic accidents. I am talking purely institutionally,” Basescu stated.
Likewise, the former Head of State says that the Interior Minister should have proposed the Supreme Defence Council for the Prosecutor General to have a police detail while commuting on NR1. According to him, he would have approved such a law.
“I am asking you: if a lorry had crashed into the Prosecutor General’s car, would you have grilled the head of Traffic Police and the Interior Minister for not protecting the route?” Basescu said. “It was an useless public pressure, this man had another two months left and I am convinced he would have summoned me to a lot of hearings during this time, but this is another issue; for me the fact that he resigned was a moment of weakness,” Basescu concluded.