Raluca Pruna: “Combating tax evasion and avoiding the public perception that the institution is fragmented, Public Ministry’s objectives”
The radical reforming of the Public Ministry, the carrying out of efficient investigations into the Revolution and Miners’ Riots cases and much more efficient communication with the DNA and DIICOT are the priorities of Augustin Lazar, Romania’s new General Prosecutor, officially appointed in office on Wednesday, in a ceremony that took place at the High Court’s Prosecutor’s Office.
Present at the ceremony, Justice Minister Raluca Pruna stated that the Public Ministry’s goals are combating tax evasion and avoiding the public perception that the institution is fragmented. She added that the Public Ministry needs a serious reform and emphasised that Augustin Lazar’s tenure will not be an easy one from this standpoint. “In the dialogue I had with Prosecutor Augustin Lazar, he showed that he has the managerial vision, the determination and necessary authority required by such an office but, this dialogue aside, I believe that General Prosecutor Lazar’s entire career recommends him for such an office during a period that is not easy for the Public Ministry. I believe the Public Ministry is at a moment in which it needs serious reform and I believe General Prosecutor Lazar will have a not at all easy tenure from this standpoint.”
In his turn, Augustin Lazar stated that the Public Ministry has to act as a single aggregate. In his opinion, corruption and conflict of interests have to be combated professionally and in an unbiased manner: “There shouldn’t be the impression that the prosecutor is not unbiased. Of course, there was clumsiness. We will energetically combat organised crime, terrorism, which takes priority. Then crimes against the environment, tax evasion. I bring into attention a type of criminality: crimes against cultural heritage.”
Romania’s new General Prosecutor considers that it is very important for a magistrate to be disciplinarily censured in a preventive stage instead of criminal sanctions appearing later on.
Lazar wants “talented” prosecutors, who want to work for the Public Ministry, promoted to frontline leadership positions: “I keep hearing that there are prosecutors who, although they are good, fear the press. There is no such thing.” Another one of Augustin Lazar’s objectives is lowering the stock of case files. He added: “We are organised based on last century’s methods. We cannot work based on norms dating back to the previous century. Professional training is very important.”
Augustin Lazar wants to combat crime in vulnerable domains on all levels, and the main directions of action will be consolidating the progress made in combating corruption in the local administration, carrying out efficient investigations into money laundering, tax evasion and crimes against humanity cases.
Other directions of action concern the combating of illegal logging, homogenising the judiciary praxis and managing the high volume of case files.
Justice Minister: I will also commit to nominating the managerial team of the General Prosecutor’s Office
Justice Minister Raluca Pruna also stated that she will take it upon herself to nominate the holders of the other leadership positions within the High Court’s Prosecutor’s Office, after she will consult Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar.
Pruna pointed out: “We have a General Prosecutor appointed in office for several days now and I see fit to apply the law and to also stake on the civil society’s recommendations to get the General Prosecutor involved in this case. I believe the role played by the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA, of DIICOT, or by the General Prosecutor in selecting the team is important. The nomination belongs to the Justice Ministry and I see fit to take this responsibility too.”
Pruna: “Gov’t decision on setting up commission to catalogue SIPA archives”
Justice Minister Raluca Pruna also announced that by June she will initiate a government decision for the setting up of a commission that will decide the fate of the archives of the Independent Service for Protection and Anticorruption (SIPA).
“I presented within the Supreme Defence Council and I received the mandate to initiate a government decision in order to set up a commission in order to catalogue the SIPA archives and to establish what will happen to them. By the end of June we will have a government decision in order to establish who will be part of this commission and what role it will have,” Raluca Pruna stated.
The Justice Minister stated in early April that the archives of the Independent Service for Protection and Anticorruption (SIPA) have been stored, ever since 2006, at the National Penitentiary Administration (ANP) and she proposed the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) to have them catalogued and transferred.