*Three defendants in Dragnea case admit accusations, new term in court – 28 March
High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) magistrates convened on Tuesday for a new court hearing in the case in which Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea is accused of instigating abuse of office in what concerns the hiring of two party members within the Teleorman County’s Social Security and Child Protection General Directorate (DGASPC).
The PSD leader did not admit committing the guilty acts the prosecutors are accusing him of and pleaded not guilty. On the other hand, the two DGASPC employees pleaded guilty and asked the judges to follow a simplified trial procedure.
Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea told ICCJ judges on Tuesday that he considers himself not guilty and does not want to be tried based on a simplified trial procedure, pointing out that he does not invoke the right to remain silent and wants to be heard.
Three other defendants pleaded guilty and asked to be tried based on simplified trial procedure, which could see their sentences cut by a third. The court set March 28 as the date of the next court hearing.
ICCJ judges read the prosecutors’ indictment in the abuse of office case in which Liviu Dragnea, his ex-wife Bombonica Prodana and Teleorman County’s DGASPC employees are indicted. Subsequently, the court asked the defendants whether they plead guilty and want to be tried based on a simplified trial procedure which could see their sentences cut by a third.
Asked by the court whether he wants to be tried based on a simplified trial procedure, Liviu Dragnea said he wants to be tried based on normal procedures because he considers himself not guilty and cannot admit the charges levelled against him by DNA prosecutors. Dragnea said he will not invoke the right to remain silent but wants to be heard instead.
Five defendants chose to be tried based on normal procedures, claiming that the charges levelled by DNA prosecutors are groundless.
The court took note of the fact that Adriana Botorogeanu, one of the defendants, was unable to show up at the court hearing due to health reasons but filed a statement pleading guilty and asking to be tried based on a simplified trial procedure.
Gheorghe Nicusor, former head of DGASPC’s Administrative, Technical and Logistics Service, and Anisa Stoica, DGASPC employee at the time the guilty acts were allegedly committed, pleaded guilty and opted for simplified trial procedure.
Two other defendants were not present at the court hearing and will plead at the next court hearing. The court set March 28 as the date of the next court hearing.
On January 31, the High Court of Justice started to try on the merits the case in which Liviu Dragnea is charged with instigating abuse of office and instigating forgery. Six defendants were absent at the first court hearing. Bombonica Prodana was among them, filing a request to be tried in absentia. Five other defendants asked the court to postpone the trial in order for them to hire lawyers.
PSD President Liviu Dragnea was indicted by National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors on 15 July 2016, for instigating abuse of office and instigating forgery.
According to prosecutors, from July 2006 to December 2012, in his capacity as Teleorman County Council Chairman and President of PSD Teleorman, Liviu Dragnea convinced Floarea Alesu, Executive Director of Teleorman County’s Social Security and Child Protection General Directorate (DGASPC) at the time, to abuse her office by not sacking two DGASPC employees.
“In fact, the two persons worked at the headquarters of the Teleorman county branch of the political party whose president defendant Dragnea Nicolae Liviu was, something the latter was aware of,” the DNA claims.
Dragnea’s ex-wife, Bombonica Prodana, is indicted for abuse of office, alongside former heads of the Teleorman County’s Social Security and Child Protection General Directorate (DGASPC).
Bombonica Prodana was accused that from 3 March 2008 to 1 August 2008 and from 3 July 2009 to 1 August 2010 she did not censure two of her subordinates despite knowing they were not showing up for work and were not observing the provisions of their labour contracts and their job requirements.
The financial damage caused in this case totals RON 108,000.
“This criminal behaviour was liable to offer the persons concerned undue benefits worth a total of RON 108,612, representing salary rights unjustifiably collected by defendant Botorogeanu Adriana (RON 75,593) and Stoica Anica Niculina (RON 33,019), sum for which the Teleorman County’s Social Security and Child Protection General Directorate (DGASPC) brought a civil action in the criminal proceedings,” the DNA prosecutors point out in the indictment.
On leaving the High Court, Liviu Dragnea stated he is not guilty and that the case is based on two or three false statements.
The case for instigation to abuse of office is based on two or three statements that are false
Dragnea also declared on Tuesday that the case regarding his alleged participation in instigation to abuse of office is based only on some untrue statements.
He said that he considers himself further on innocent, and the decision of two defendants to plead guilty in order to benefit from a simplified trial procedure, does not determine him to change his mind.
“It is their problem, neither my attitude, nor the truth will change anything. I am innocent, this file is only based on two or three statements, for which I will bring witnesses who have not been heard by the Prosecution Office, statements that are untrue. What every accused man decides is his problem, it does not change at all the truth, and that’s my only interest”, Dragnea stated upon exiting the High Court of Justice and Cassation at the end of today’s proceedings.