Lower Chamber MPs voted on Wednesday against the National Anticorruption Directorate’s (DNA) request to lift the immunity of their colleague Sebastian Ghita, who is accused of passive bribery, use of confidential information, blackmail, purchasing influence and driving a vehicle without a licence.
The MPs voted against the DNA’s request to approve the 24-hour detention. The prosecutors’ request was rejected with 167 votes against and 121 votes in favour.
In what concerns the DNA’s request for the MPs to approve the pre-trial arrest, it was rejected with 179 votes against. 302 MPs were present at the session.
“Abusive use of pre-trial arrest fuels the mechanism of fear”
Before the voting, MP Sebastian Ghita asked his colleagues not to approve the DNA’s request in the new corruption case that concerns him, claiming that the prosecutors’ measures are abusive and represent “a modern form of torture.”
In a fiery speech given in Parliament, MP Ghita said that important people in Romania all have criminal files. “The Senate Speaker is threatened with files, Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea has two files pending. The Prosecutor General was dismissed with one file. The heads of the intelligence services have files, the heads of all parties in Romania are in court or have files, including Vasile Blaga and Alina Gorghiu, the heads of media institutions in Romania – Antena 3, Evenimentul Zilei – have files (…), thousands of Romanian companies have been destroyed with files. The result? Romania has lost EUR 5 bln from European funds,” the MP said.
Sebastian Ghita pointed out that Iohannis “has figured out what is going on, but he is silent, former president Traian Basescu knows too, but is silent, former premier Victor Ponta, self-exiled, gave in and is silent, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu only tells us a quarter of the truth and Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea is silent too,” because “they are all afraid.”
Sebastian Ghita reminded that MPs’ votes do not mean “blocking the judiciary,” they mean “rejecting an abusive practice” instead.
“The idea that an MP is above the law is false, today’s vote will not mean blocking the judiciary, but rejecting an abusive practice – pre-trial arrest. What is the goal of pressure? (…) Instituting fear through harassments and using the arrest as a modern instrument of torture,” the MP added.
He accused that there is an attempt to educate Romanian society “through the abusive use” of pre-trial arrest, the goal being the destruction of a person’s social status, removing the person from its family and presenting the person as “guilty” before the court. “This is the method that fuels the mechanism of fear,” Ghita added.
“They want me to denounce Victor Ponta. I have nothing to denounce”
Moreover, the MP explained why he believes he became the prosecutors’ “target” – denouncing former Premier Victor Ponta.
“I too have wondered why immediately after the presidential elections I became the target: this is happening in order to force me to be a denouncer. They want me to denounce Victor Ponta. I have nothing to denounce about Victor Ponta’s activity.” “The prosecutors have been trying for a year to come up with a file for Victor Ponta’s wife too,” he claimed, stating that he has the information from a website.
“People are blaming us, the MPs, for this spectacle of handcuffs. We cannot build a country like a prison,” the MP added before his colleagues.
Moreover, Sebastian Ghita went as far as to state that President Klaus Iohannis is on the verge of resigning because of a file that his wife Carmen Iohannis allegedly has.
“We are living in a Romanian in which President Klaus Iohannis is on the verge of resignation because of a file that his wife might have,” referring to the house that Klaus and Carmen Iohannis lost after the Brasov Court of Appeals upheld the Brasov Court decision to cancel a purchasing contract that Klaus Iohannis, his wife Carmen Iohannis and Georgeta Lazurca (Carmen’s mother) signed with those who claimed to be the inheritors of a house located in downtown Sibiu. The contract was cancelled because the inheritance certificate was deemed unclear.