On Wednesday afternoon, former Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea was heard for almost three hours at the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Ploiesti, stating when leaving the DNA offices that the hearings concerned a probe that is “in an incipient stage,” without giving any other details about the reasons for which he was subpoenaed. According to judiciary sources, Zgonea was heard as an influence peddling suspect. He is suspected to have used his influence for someone to be appointed secretary of state.
When leaving the DNA Ploiesti offices, Zgonea told journalists that the probe is “in an incipient stage,” refusing to offer details as to why he was subpoenaed at the DNA.
On Wednesday, National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors ordered the start of criminal proceedings and the adoption of a 60-day judicial control measure against defendant Zgonea Valeriu-Stefan, Deputy Speaker of the Romanian Parliament’s Lower Chamber from 2010 to 2012 and then Speaker of the Romanian Parliament’s Lower Chamber from 2012 to 2016, for influence peddling.
Also ordered was the start of criminal proceedings against Dobrica Dumitru, Buzau County Council member from June 2004 to December 2013 and company administrator/shareholder, for buying influence.
The prosecutors’ ordinances show that the case has data and evidence which offer the reasonable suspicion that outlines the following situation:
In July 2012, defendant Zgonea Valeriu-Stefan was appointed Speaker of the Lower Chamber.
In this context, starting in July 2012, suspect Dobrica Dumitru promised defendant Zgonea Valeriu-Stefan – and the latter accepted – undue benefits in return for interceding with civil servants over whom he suggested he had influence, in order for one of Dobrica Dumitru’s relatives to be appointed to an important public office.
Subsequently, defendant Zgonea Valeriu-Stefan received from suspect Dobrica Dumitru undue benefits worth approximately RON 52,000, representing the value of tourism services (a four-day trip to Vienna from 16 May to 19 May 2013) and expenditures related to the construction of a holiday home in Covasna County.
On 22 April 2013, as a result of Zgonea Valeriu-Stefan’s overtures, Dobrica Dumitru’s relative was appointed president of the Informational Society Ministry’s National Management Centre, despite lacking special training in this field.
Subsequently, also as a result of Zgonea Valeriu-Stefan’s overtures, the said person kept his/her office at the level of central public administration, being appointed, on 23 January 2014, undersecretary of state within the Communications and Informational Society Ministry.