JUSTICE

Supreme Court decides that Gabriel Oprea’s trial in the case of illegal use of DIPI funds will begin on merits

Judges of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) decided on Wednesday, by a final decision, that the trial in which the former IntMin Gabriel Oprea is accused of abuse of office related to the illegal use of the funds belonging to the Intelligence and Internal Protection Department (DIPI) will begin on merits, and the magistrates will establish the first hearing.

The magistrates of the Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday, by a final decision, the request of the former Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea to notify the Constitutional Court in the case of the illegal expenses from the DIPI operative funds.

On February 22, the lawyers of the former IntMin Gabriel Oprea asked ICCJ to notify the Constitutional Court with a constitutional challenge on the impossibility of the preliminary chamber judge to order the cessation of the trial, claiming that the accusations against the former minister are not available anymore since he breached a CSAT decision, and not a law or a GEO.

The request was rejected on February 23, but the former interior minister contested the decision.

On May 11, 2016, the former Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea was sent to judgment by DNA in the case of the luxury car purchased by the intelligence and Internal protection Department (DIPI) for the dignitaries’ protection, used by Oprea. In the same case are also judged the former DIPPI heads Gheorghe Nicolae, Nelu Zanica, Nicolae Pavel and Danut Iacob, the damage being set to RON 410,000.

Gabriel Oprea, former Deputy Prime-Minister for National Security and Internal Affairs Minister, is judged for abuse of office, if the official has obtained for himself or for another person an undue benefit, according to the national Anticorruption Directorate.

Gheorghe Nicolae, Main Police Quaestor, who was the head of the Intelligence and internal Protection Department (DIPI) with the rank of Secretary of State at the time of the deeds, was sent to judgment for complicity in abuse of office, if the official has obtained for himself or for another person an undue benefit, as well as for committing two offenses of embezzlement, of which one was on an ongoing basis (11 material acts).

Gabriel Nicolae Pavel, Police Chief-Commissioner, who was the head of the DIPIP Legal Department at the time of the deeds, is accused of complicity in abuse of office, while Nelu Zarnica, main Quaestor, who was an undersecretary at the time of the deeds, is accused of embezzlement on an ongoing basis (two material acts), and Marian Danut Iacob, police Chief-Commissioner, the head of an administrative structure at the time of the deeds, is accused of embezzlement on an ongoing basis (three material acts).

According to the indictment, on July 13, 2015, Gabriel Oprea, who was the Interior Minister and authorized to order payments from budgetary funds, with the help of Gheorghe Nicolae and Gabriel Nicolae Pavel, ordered the supplementation of the DIPI funds for operative expenses with RON 410,000, and approved the purchase of an Audi A8 vehicle, with the stated purpose of protecting the dignitaries.

“This was made by breaching the legal provisions that limit the purchase of cars from the operative funds of the Ministry of internal Affairs strictly to situations related to using them in activities of prosecution of the corruption deeds. As a result of breaching the duties, the state budget has been damaged by an amount of RON 410,000, while DIPI benefited from the endowment with the corresponding assets, amounting EUR 91,295.73, which was the undue benefit related to the legal destination of the operative funds” wrote prosecutors in the indictment.

The former head of DIPI Gheorghe Nicolae is also accused of changing, in the period of August 21 – October 2015, the designation of the Audi A8 vehicle purchased from operative funds, “in a conspired manner, for the personal and exclusive use of the Interior Minister in office, Oprea Gabriel”.

Investigators also established that, from 2014 to 2015, Gheorghe Nicolae has repeatedly approved several reports changing the designation of the amount of RON 238,173.47, allocated to DIPI for operative funds in order to perform protocol expenses or to endow the institution, that have not been circumscribed to the informative-operative activities, actions or missions.

“Defendants Zarnica Nelu and Iacob Marian-Danut acted in the same manner, as persons authorized to order payments form budgetary funds inside the Intelligence and internal protection Department, drawing up reports that changed the designation of the amount of RON 9,398, respectively RON 4,955.51”, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors have seized several assets belonging to Oprea, Nicolae and Pavel, up to the amount of RON 410,000, in order to recover the damage caused by them by abuse of office.

The case was sent to the High Court of Cassation and justice, with the proposal to maintain the precautionary measures against the defendants Gheorghe Nicolae, Gabriel Oprea and Gabriel Nicolae Pavel.

Gabriel Oprea is investigated for abuse of office also in the case related to the illegal use of the official motorcade, the case opened after the death of the police officer Bogdan Gigina, from the Bucharest Road Brigade.

Gabriel Oprea’s name also appears in the case in which the suspended Mayor of the 2nd District, Neculai Ontanu, is prosecuted.

 

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