“Romanian politicians, whose ranks have been decimated by hundreds of graft-related arrests, are trying to undermine the biggest anti-corruption drive in the country’s modern history by trivializing the investigations, Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi said.
“Lately, we have been seeing an attempt to mock the anti-corruption fight, to make it insignificant,” Kovesi said in an interview in Bucharest on Thursday. “So what if you’re investigated by the prosecutors? It’s fashionable to be investigated by the anti-corruption directorate.”
Since Kovesi, 43, embarked on an anti-corruption crackdown akin to Italy’s 1990s Clean Hands campaign, Romania has sent a record number of officials to trial. The suspects included a sitting prime minister and dozens of other cabinet members, with many still being detained for graft and bribe taking.
As the campaign for general elections scheduled for Dec. 11 heats up, several politicians started promoting an anti-judiciary message to justify some officials continuing to hold public positions despite being probed or convicted. Public trust in the anti-corruption directorate remains the highest among Romanian institutions at 55 percent, even after a recent decline, according to a survey by the polling company Avangarde, cited by the Bucharest-based Antena 3 television station on Thursday.
Kovesi herself has been the target of plagiarism accusations over her doctoral thesis, which she denies. While assuring citizens that prosecutors don’t feel discouraged by the attacks that “start from a very high level” and at times get personal, Kovesi sees a risk that the credibility of the entire justice system could be harmed.
Prosecutors at the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism probed private investigators allegedly hired by graft suspects to dig up dirt and harass Kovesi’s family in an attempt to harm her image.
“It’s true that sometimes these attacks come from people with very high-ranking positions,” Kovesi said. “But neither I nor the other prosecutors feel any bit intimidated by these attacks, especially because they are based on false statements,” Bloomeberg shows.
Dragnea: Kovesi shouldn’t resign until it’s established she plagiarised or not
Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea considers that National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi should not resign until it is established whether she did plagiarise her doctoral thesis or not.
“I did not agree, I do not agree with the demands coming from various part of society, including from the President, for politicians to resign when some accusations are levied; based on this logic, I do not agree that Codruta Kovesi has to resign either, until this Commission, which risks turning into a political weapon, decides whether there is plagiarism or not,” Liviu Dragnea told a television channel, Agerpres informs.
The PSD President confessed that he was “perplexed” by the idea that the Senate’s vote on the law on plagiarism allegedly helps Kovesi.
“I don’t want to harm her; I don’t want to help her either. (…) If those who told me that through that vote we helped Ms. Kovesi, and seeing the actions of Mr. Iohannis, Mr. Ciolos and PNL, this leads me to an interesting thought. Could it be that Mr. Iohannis, Mr. Ciolos and PNL want to use this Commission (CNATDCU – editor’s note) in order to replace Ms. Kovesi? (…) I can’t say I’m not interested or I’m interested only a bit. It’s a dispute between them. I can but think about this. We’ve seen the haste. The idea was for the promulgation of the law and its publishing in the Official Journal to be delayed some more. I can’t help but think about this,” Dragnea added.
The PSD President pointed out that the falsified doctoral theses phenomenon “undermines values and awards imposture.”
“In Romania the topic of plagiarism is already in fashion. I’m an engineer, I don’t have a Ph.D. title, I remained only an engineer and I’m proud of this, but I feel that this phenomenon, this wave of falsified doctoral theses, has already become a national topic and it’s very annoying because it undermines values and awards imposture,” Dragnea added.