Constitutional Court of Romania postponed, on Thursday, for October 4, the debates on the notification of several MPs related to the provisions of the law on the interpretation of the article referring to the discrimination of the conflict of interest in the case of the parliamentarians who hired their relatives at the parliamentary offices until 2013.
The bill on the discrimination of the conflict of interest was challenged by a group of 99 MPs belonging to PSD, UDMR, national minorities and one liberal MP, on the ground that it overlaps the ICCJ’s (High Court of Cassation and Justice) attributions, and it represents an “amnesty”.
The bill was initiated by Daniel Florea and Florin Iordache (PSD) and Marton Arpad (UDMR). The notification was signed by 99 deputies, out of which 76 belong to PSD, 13 to UDMR (including the initiator Marton Arpad), 9 to the minorities and one of them is liberal. According to the notification, only the High Court of Cassation and Justice interprets and handles the unitary implementation of the law, so that the interpretation law approved by the Parliament “could lead to a constitutional conflict between Parliament and ICCJ and Judiciary, breaching the provisions of the art.1, par.(4) from the Constitution of Romania”.
The notification’s signatories draw attention on the fact that this bill has “retroactive effects”, representing even “a subtle retroactive discrimination, an amnesty”. According to the initiators, the notification was submitted in order for the parliamentarians to be ensured that their interpretation on hiring their relatives at the offices is correct.
The law was submitted by PSD to relieve deputies and senators who hired their relatives at their parliamentary offices on the ground that this prohibition was included in the Statute only in 2013, although the MPs were convicted by the Criminal Code for these deeds, by provisions related to the conflict of interest that existed also before 2013, and that are in force today, too.
The law has appeared after five deputies – Ion Calin, Iulian Iancu, Laurentiu Nistor and Iuliu Nosa from PSD, and Mihaita Calimente from PNL – requested the interpretation of the law, claiming that they cannot be accused by ANI of conflict of interest for hiring their relatives at the parliamentary offices previously to the amendment of the Statute, therefore previously to 2013, when the prohibition of hiring relatives was expressly included.
Despite the deputies’ explanation, the Statute was amended with this express mention exactly as an interpretation of the Criminal Code – the legal text on which the deputies and senators who hired relatives at their offices were investigated. Thus, Criminal Code stipulates, in the art.301, that “the deed of the public officer who, by exercising his office duties, has performed an action or has participated to taking a decision by which a patrimony was acquired directly or indirectly, for himself or for his/her wife/husband, or for a relative or affine up to the second degree inclusively, or for other person with whom he/she was in commercial or work relations in the last 5 years, or from which he/she has received or is receiving advantages of any kind, is punished by imprisonment of one to 5 years and deprivation of the right to hold public office.”
Basically, the deputies who requested for the interpretation of the MPs’ Statute, are asking for their Statute to be the law on which they should be judged, and not the criminal Code, based on which ANI has ordered investigations and decided that these persons are in conflict of interest.
Around 50 current and former MPs have hired relatives at their parliamentary offices, some of them before 2013, including the 5 deputies who have requested the interpretation of the