EVENTS JUSTICE

Anti-corruption chief Kovesi receives Sweden’s Order of the Polar Star in rank of Commander decoration: Sweden is a model, our work unsettles those who thought were unreachable

The activity of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) “unsettles those who believed were unreachable,” while Sweden in a model worth imitating by Romania, DNA chief prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi said Thursday upon being presented Sweden’s Order of the Polar Star in rank of Commander decoration.

“When it comes to tools to fight corruption, Sweden is a model to us. The absence of immunities and special privileges, the existence of administrative transparency of public spending, all principles enshrined in Sweden’s Constitution, are worthy of being taken up by Romania as well,” said Kovesi.

He added that her colleagues are equally worthy of the decoration. “This decoration honours me and it is a constant recognition of the efforts deployed by the DNA colleagues in the fair and professional fight against high-level corruption. My only merit is to co-ordinate a team made up of professionals, courageous people who believe in a corruption-free Romania, in county where honesty is a reflex and competence is the most important criterion,” said Kovesi.

She added that “law rightfully applied” is the pillar of DNA’s work. “That is why we have the strength to carry on. All pressures, all attempts at intimidation and harassment in our personal or professional lives have failed. We continue our work as determined and consistent as ever. In our hour of need, we are backed up by many courageous and honest people,” said Kovesi.

She added that “behind the DNA efforts lie the work and courage of some people, their human and professional strength.”

“Our work unsettles many who believed they were unreachable, while bothering those who wanted to use the state bodies in their own personal interest. Obviously, we still have to put up with challenges of the past, but we will continue our investigations,” said Kovesi.

DNA’s work was the subject of a film that ran at the end of the award ceremony, where everyday people, ambassadors, including Swedish ambassador in Bucharest Anneli Lindahl Kenny who presented the decoration, and journalists talked about the importance of the DNA.

The ambassador said the creation of DNA and its independence from politics in the early 2000s were a cornerstone, and examples from other countries show that a legal framework and access to resources are not enough, because right people are also needed in the mix. The appointment of Laura Codruta Kovesi as DNA chief, she said, showed that the organisation has the right person.

The ambassador added that the decoration is awarded to Kovesi for sustained and courageous fight against corruption, which she added made important steps forward toward improving transparency and law enforcement in Romania. She added that the award equally recognise the DNA team, Romania and its citizens, and the example of a hard-working and courageous woman Romania has managed to set an example for Europe and the world.

Kovesi’s unwavering dedication, she said, has given Romanians hope for a better future.

Also attending the award ceremony at the Swedish Embassy in Bucharest were Chairman of the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM) Mircea Aron; head of the Directorate for Organised Crime and Terror Investigation (DIICOT) Daniel Horodniceanu; US ambassador in Bucharest Hans Klemm; Romania’s Justice Minister Raluca Pruna, as well as Kovesi’s parents.

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