The National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors ordered the investigation of current and former Timisoara municipality City Mayors, among whom Nicolae Robu (photo), for abuse in office in connection with the illegal sale of nationalized buildings.
According to a press release of DNA, on Friday, investigated are Nicolae Robu – mayor of Timisoara, Dan Diaconu – deputy mayor, Gheorghe Ciuhandru – former mayor, Traian Constantin Stoia – former deputy mayor, Martin Staia – former director of the Timisoara City Hall, all for the offense of abuse of office with obtaining undue advantages for themselves or for another party, and in some people’s case, the offense is repeated.
Prosecutors claim that, in the period 1996 – 2015, several public employees of the Timisoara City Hall, as well as other people have violated attributions related to the application of Law 112/1995 and stripped the Romanian state of 967 buildings, most of them located in the old city, causing an estimated damage worth 40 million euros to the state.
“The context of the ongoing criminal activity is as follows: in January 1996, the Law 112/1995 regulating the legal status of estate intended for housing, owned by the state during the communist regime, entered into force. This law gave former owners and their heirs the right to reclaim their buildings confiscated abusively by the communist regime or receive compensation for those properties. At the same time, the law gave the tenants the right to buy the buildings in which they lived, but only to those tenants who could prove that at the moment of the law 112 / 1996 enforcement, they had rental contracts of those buildings and were living in them at that time,” specifies DNA.
Investigators found that civil servants in the City Hall concluded hundreds of sale-purchase contracts with influential people in Timisoara municipality’s social milieu, who did not have the quality of tenants at the date of entry into force of Law 112/1995 and that, therefore, they had no right to acquire such property.
“Officials within Timisoara City Hall sold the buildings fraudulently to the aforementioned people, at low prices, established under Law 112/1995 and Government Decision 20/1996, although they were aware that the respective dispositions had no applicability in those people’s respect. The overall damage in reference to the State’s dispossession of the 967 buildings is estimated at approximately 40 million euros,” the quoted source stresses.
In this case, criminal prosecution of other people is carried out as well, people who, at the time, were civil servants in Timisoara City Hall.
Mayor Robu, upon leaving the DNA: I am considered a suspect
Mayor of Timisoara Nicolae Robu stated on Friday, upon leaving the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) that he is considered to be a suspect in a case of corruption.
“Suspect. Everyone has this title. Suspect because I have signed these sale-purchase contracts, which were drawn up, but not by me, drawn up breaching the law,” Robu stated, mentioning that he considers himself innocent.
He pointed out that, during his tenure, only two modest apartments were sold, one having two rooms and another one with just one room, to modest families, by observing the law.
“Timisoara City Hall sold apartments belonging to the state or owned by the city, based on the Law No.112/1995 (the Retrocession Law- e.n.). It looks like almost 1,000 apartments were sold by breaching the law, namely to tenants who signed the lease contracts after the Law No.112 entered into force. (…) There was a decision of the previous administration through which it was allowed for apartments to be also sold based on the lease contracts signed ulterior to the date when the law was enforced. It looks like the City Hall’s specialized body also made sales, I don’t know under what circumstances, I will look it up, during my tenure, and for that reason I was subpoenaed. It’s about some modest houses, sold to some modest families, therefore, it’s not about corruption or highly positioned persons and so on. I requested to the City Hall body and I have proof in this regard, through an internal note, to tell me if these transactions were made by observing the law and they reply ‘yes’, the law was observed. Therefore I consider myself completely innocent,” Robu explained.
He mentioned that, since he was elected mayor, he recovered three buildings from certain clans and hasn’t lost any.
“In 2013, a year after I have become mayor, I addressed to the Prosecutor’s Office with the Timisoara Court and the Timis Police Inspectorate and I requested that all the transfers of the Romanian state or of Timisoara city towards different private (companies or persons – e.n.), including with the clans mentioned, to be investigated, because the local folklore spoke of many irregularities. (…) I have recovered from them three buildings and haven’t lost any, since elected as mayor, so to be clear,” Robu claimed.
Also on Friday, former Deputy Mayor of Timisoara Traian Stoian arrived at the DNA headquarters in order to be heard by the anticorruption prosecutors.