Former Lower Chamber lawmaker Sebastian Ghita, who went missing three weeks ago and was put on the international list of wanted fugitives, has revealed in a new video recording, broadcast by Romania TV on Monday evening, that Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) General Florian Coldea threatened to have Victor Ponta arrested if the latter signed the contract on the construction of the Comarnic-Brasov Expressway.
Sebastian Ghita’s full statement:
“This evening I will tell you why I believe we are in this point. The fact is I refused to hand over Romania TV to the establishment, to prosecutors, to the intelligence services and to President Iohannis.
“The establishment doesn’t want a free press”
“The establishment doesn’t want a free press. A media market in which several television stations would compete. Antena 3 and Romania TV widely covered the abuses of the so-called anti-corruption crusade based on forged case files. The establishment doesn’t like independent judges and journalists asking inconvenient questions. The establishment wants ECHR decisions left unknown to people and wants to control the media channels. Basically, they want a society in which our truth could not be told, in which only their truth would exist. If they want to charge a man, to convict him before bringing evidence before the judge, to subject him to media lynching, they are allowed to resort to media lynching, it is not forbidden to them. Their agents of influence within many publications are doing this from dawn to dusk.
They have imposed a cult of fear and are keeping the Gov’t and Parliament in check through an avalanche of legal cases
“They have imposed a cult of fear and are keeping the Government and Parliament in check through an avalanche of legal cases. One of the major conflicts I had with Coldea had to do with the debate on Romania’s development, on the fact that the projects are blocked, that fear generates the lack of European grants, that civil servants are afraid to take any decision.
“In February 2015, he was my guest, at the family’s villa in Cheia. He came with his family. I have proof and I will show it to you. Here are the images showing both of us during our talks in Cheia.
“Ponta wanted to continue the Comarnic-Brasov project, however Coldea never agreed with it. In my presence, he threatened to have him arrested along with the CNADNR civil servants who dare push this project forward. He would have arrested him had he signed the contract. The tender, because there was a tender between large European concerns, had already been won by the Vinci-Strabag-Aktor consortium and was backed by two large financial groups: France’s Societe Generale and Austria’s Erste.
“Coldea blocked the Comarnic-Brasov expressway: He angrily told me that Europeans want the Pitesti-Sibiu expressway and we should keep the rest of the money for arms”
“In February 2015, in Cheia, I reproached Florian Coldea for gridlocking Romania by blocking this project and others. He very nervously told me, very annoyed, that the Europeans want the Pitesti-Sibiu expressway, because that is where the European corridor is, and the rest of the money that Romania collects should be kept to buy arms. I explained to him that the Pitesti-Sibiu expressway costs EUR 7 billion and it will take 12 years to build it, covering the period of two EU financial frameworks, while the Comarnic-Brasov expressway will cost less than EUR 1 billion and Romania can build it in two years, three years at most. What I told him back then was confirmed by the Ciolos Government a few weeks ago.
“They said very clearly that until 2023 we should put aside the idea of having an expressway. Comarnic-Brasov would have cost less than 1 billion and Romania would have managed to finish it in two years, three years at most. Why was this decision taken? What are the interests behind blocking Romania’s interests? How are we going to tell people that in 2018 Romanians are yet to build an expressway across the Carpathians, I don’t know. Mr. Florian Coldea should personally respond. Today I can tell Romanians who was the person who blocked the construction of the expressway across the Carpathians.
“It was my last discussion with Florian Coldea in an informal setting. The meeting took place on 1 February 2015. He left very upset and, two weeks later, on February 17, both ex-Prime Minister Victor Ponta and I ended up involved in legal cases. Ponta’s entire family was summoned at the DNA, they were targeted by searches, their grandchildren’s tablets were seized.
“Not even today, two years later, the prosecutors haven’t managed to do anything with that case. The damage is nil, none of those false denunciations that they used against Victor Ponta or against me were proved and the Ploiesti-based prosecutors don’t know what to do with that case anymore. Basically, they would have to find a way of apologising firstly to the Romanian Government and secondly to Romania, for putting them to great shame by accusing a Prime Minister over nothing and for dragging Romania’s name into an international scandal.
“I will come up with more data, details, information and proof on the way in which this repressive system built by Florian Coldea and Codruta Kovesi acts and destroys lives, companies, and on the way in which it uses false denunciators,” Ghita concluded in the video recording broadcast by Romania TV.
Ex-Premier Victor Ponta confessed in the summer of 2016, on Romania TV, that an influential person warned him about the Comarnic-Brasov contract. “Mr. Basescu told us publicly and another gentleman told us in private.”
“There are people in Romania who can testify alongside me that when we wanted to sign Comarnic-Brasov someone influential told us: you’ll end up straight at the DNA if you build Comarnic-Brasov. Mr. Basescu told us publicly and another gentleman told us in private. Boc tried too, if you remember. I tried too, with 60 percent in Parliament, and my minister told me ‘they’ll throw us in jail if we build Comarnic-Brasov,’” Victor Ponta revealed on Romania TV.
International warrant for Ghita
The police officers who were tailing Sebastian Ghita on the night of December 19-20, while he was going home from a SRI event, lost track of him, judicial sources told Mediafax.
According to the sources mentioned, the police officers who had him under surveillance said he was driving at a speed of over 200 kilometres per hour and they were blocked by a third vehicle. Subsequently, Sebastian Ghita’s car was found outside his home, so the police officers presumed he was at home.
An arrest warrant was issued for Sebastian Ghita because he broke the terms of his conditional bail by not showing up at the police precinct on a weekly basis. A European and an international warrant were subsequently issued on his name.
Arrest warrant for Ghita upheld. Final ruling
High Court of Justice (ICCJ) judges decided on Tuesday to uphold the decision to have Sebastian Ghita placed under pre-trial arrest in absentia.
The magistrates analysed the appeal filed by the former lawmaker’s defendants. The latter claimed that the businessman was placed on the list of wanted persons after a decision that was not final and that there is no evidence that the former Lower Chamber lawmaker is a fugitive. His lawyers also said his own family does not know his whereabouts.
The Supreme Court’s five-judge panel decided on Tuesday, through a final ruling, to place Sebastian Ghita under pre-trial arrest, the warrant issued on his name in the case in which he is tried for corruption, alongside former heads of prosecutor’s offices and heads of police from Prahova County, set to be enforced when the former lawmaker is found.
Sebastian Ghita’s lawyer presented in court a document signed by the former lawmaker’s father, claiming he last knew his son’s whereabouts on December 16, News.ro informs.
The lawyer added that Sebastian Ghita’s own family does not know where he is. Asked by the judges whether Ghita’s family reported his disappearance, the lawyer answered negatively.
After deliberations, the court rejected the appeal filed by Ghita’s lawyers and upheld the January 5 decision adopted by a three-judge panel to replace the conditional bail with pre-trial arrest in absentia in the case in which he is tried for corruption.
Shortly after the ICCJ’s decision, Sebastian Ghita was placed on the national list of wanted persons. Sebastian Ghita’s name and description were introduced in the Romanian Police’s ‘Wanted’ application which all Romanian police structures can access.
DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi stated on Monday that the Interior Ministry should say how Sebastian Ghita managed to disappear, pointing out that the DNA had also ordered, alongside the conditional bail measure, police surveillance and a ban on him leaving the country.
Ever since Sebastian Ghita has disappeared, Romania TV, a television channel he controls, has broadcast several video recordings in which the former lawmaker levies serious accusations against DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi.
JusMin on Sebastian Ghita’s disclosures: Media pressures don’t help justice system
Minister Florin Iordache said on Tuesday that the media pressures or the pressures of any other nature don’t help the justice system.
“Undoubtedly, no. The justice system must work and the media pressures or the pressures of any other nature don’t help the justice system, because, I repeat, we need to strengthen the justice system and we need a competent and coherent justice,” Florin Iordache said, asked if the disclosures made by former MP Sebastian Ghita “are healthy for the system.”
Asked about the discussion on Monday with the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) head Laura Codruta Kovesi, the Justice Minister said that he supports the fight against corruption. “I discussed with her for a coherent legislation, for a sufficient budget for the optimal functioning of the institution, I reiterated that I definitely support the fight against corruption and the strengthening of the role of justice and the citizen’s confidence in the act of justice,” Florin Iordache showed.
In respect to the law on magistrates’ accountability, he mentioned that he decided to establish the interparliamentary committee to amend the legislation, as confusing laws exist at the moment.
“For haste, for lack of knowledge, for error, the laws issued by the Government, be laws then approved in Parliament, we have all found, and this is a signal that must concern us, that we have contradictory laws, laws generating confusion in society, and our role is to amend the laws and make them as clear and as coherent as possible,” Iordache showed.