JUSTICE

“Mother of anticorruption,” green lighted by Supreme Council of Magistrates for new term at DNA helm

The Prosecution Department of the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM) on Monday issued a favourable unanimous opinion on Justice Minister Raluca Pruna’s recommendation for the reappointment of Laura Codruta Kovesi as chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA).

The opinion was issued unanimously by CSM’s Prosecution Department, after Kovesi presented her management project and answered the questions. Justice Minister Raluca Pruna stated that the result “was to be expected.”

“I believe the result of the vote was to be expected and, personally, I am very happy that the Prosecution Department unanimously green-lighted this reappointment proposal, so that I believe we have all premises to believe that the DNA will continue the very good work it started several years ago,” Minister Raluca Pruna said.

At the meeting, the minister stated that she based her reappointment proposal bearing in mind the DNA’s “absolutely remarkable” results registered under Kovesi’s coordination and the public’s confidence in this institution, stating that no minister would have had another “rational and commonsense” option but to award these results.

“Obviously, I also set out from the DNA’s absolutely remarkable results registered under the coordination of Chief Prosecutor Kovesi. I noticed that the goals she set out in the management plan she presented to this Council when obtaining her first term as Chief Prosecutor of the DNA were attained. I believe the results are also remarkable at institutional level, through the reorganization of the Directorate, and the results, which we could all note, regardless whether we are solely citizens or we hold public offices, are obvious, speak for themselves. In three years in office, impressive figures were noted at statistical level,” Raluca Pruna claimed.

The Justice Minister pointed out that the number of closing arguments, defendants arraigned and the importance of the cases has risen. Another argument brought by Raluca Pruna referred to the value of assets seized, pointing out that it stands at half a billion Euros in the last year.

In what concerns public confidence in the DNA, Pruna stated that it registered a rise during the term of the current Chief Prosecutor.

The CSM opinion will be sent to the Justice Minister, and the proposal will then be officially forwarded to President Klaus Iohannis, who will issue the appointment decree, unless he has objections.

At CSM, Laura Codruta Kovesi stated that prevention has to have an important role in eradicating the corruption phenomenon.

“In what concerns prevention policies, we were active participants to the implementation of the measures ordered in the National Anticorruption Strategy 2012-2015, we also brought proposals to the new strategy which is publicly debated. (…) It is extremely important for the phenomenon of corruption to be eradicated not just through repression but also through prevention,” Kovesi stated, answering a question from CSM member Oana Schmidt-Haineala.

In the opinion of the DNA Director, each public institution should identify internal vulnerabilities and risks that exists within the institution and to try prevention measures,” Laura Codruta Kovesi pointed out.

She added that, in the case of the entire DNA personnel, integrity criteria should be superior to any magistrate. Moreover, answering a question from CSM Vice President Luminita Palade, concerning the measures that have to be taken in the case of the leak of classified or confidential DNA information, Kovesi said:

“We faced such situations in 2013, when a DNA Chief Prosecutor was suspected of corruption, I had no hesitation, I registered the case – it was given to a prosecutor from the central structure, and the law was applied as it applies for all citizens. We had such situations also concerning police officers, each time this kind of revelations come in the form of crimes and we opened criminal cases and investigated them like any other cases; we have DNA police officers who were sentenced for such crimes,” Kovesi said.

“In what concerns administrative measures concerning classified information, we have a classified information compartment led by a chief prosecutor, we have very strict rules about the circuit of documents, the way the works are allocated, the way in which the information from these documents are used. Following the incidents, if I can call them that, in fact following the handling of cases involving acting prosecutors or police officers, I ordered certain administrative measures concerning access to information, I greatly limited the prosecutors’ or police officers’ access to information. The work is extremely compartmented, a certain number of people have access to all DNA information, and only for objective cases,” Kovesi stated.

“It is important for the corruption phenomenon to be eradicated not just through repression but also through prevention”

Prevention has to have an important role in eradicating corruption, Laura Codruta Kovesi stated on Monday at the headings for the investiture for the office of DNA Director, hearings taking place before the Prosecution Department of the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM).

“In what concerns prevention policies, we were active participants to the implementation of the measures ordered in the National Anticorruption Strategy 2012-2015, we also brought proposals to the new strategy which is publicly debated. (…) It is extremely important for the phenomenon of corruption to be eradicated not just through repression but also through prevention,” Kovesi stated, answering a question from CSM member Oana Schmidt-Haineala.

In the opinion of the DNA Chief, each public institution should identify internal vulnerabilities and try to prevent corruption.

“We are centralizing all final decisions in our cases. It would be important for us if every public institution were to analyze these court decisions, in order to identify the vulnerabilities and risks that exist within the institution, and try to adopt prevention measures,” Laura Codruta Kovesi.

The Chief Prosecutor added that during her three-year term the number of defendants arraigned grew continuously, even six fold in the case of officials, 24 approvals for the investigation of lawmakers being requested.

Likewise, she pointed out that the assets seized total half a billion Euros.

In what concerns the risk that the crimes could expire under the statute of limitations, Kovesi stated that “we do not have cases that present this risk,” because the older cases are carefully monitored.

On the other hand, the DNA’s Chief Prosecutor reminded that public confidence in the DNA rose in the last three years in which she led the institution, from 40 percent to over 60 percent.

Raluca Pruna made a single nomination for the leadership of DNA, and the hearings were postponed several days because of the terrorist attacks in Brussels.

In what concerns the procedure of appointing a General Prosecutor, the minister pointed out that there is an estimative timetable. Thus, Pruna will decide and publicly announce her nomination for the office of General Prosecutor, which remained vacant after Tiberiu Nitu’s resignation. Four prosecutors have already entered the race for this office.

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