POLITICS

Dragnea: Toader’s audit on DNA, DIICOT and PG should have final report; otherwise it’d be only a statement once again

PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Wednesday, in Sinaia, that the audit on the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), the Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) and the Prosecutor General’s Office, an audit that the Justice Minister has announced, should have a final report, otherwise it would once again be only “a very beautiful and interesting statement.”

“It will be a good measure if it has some result, in the sense that I believe the public has the right to know whether things took place properly from a managerial standpoint. Meaning, we’re talking about an audit that should have a final report. In that sense, I believe it will be a good measure. If it doesn’t have a final report, it will once again be a very beautiful and interesting statement,” Dragnea said in Sinaia, when asked if he believes the external audit that the Justice Minister announced is a good idea.

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated on Monday that he will audit the management of all large prosecutor’s offices, namely the DNA, the DIICOT and the Prosecutor General’s Office.

“I carried out that evaluation that Article 132 of the Constitution permitted me to carry out, because I too considered there was backsliding, but I didn’t forget that law no.303 permits the background evaluation of prosecutors and I will order an external audit that would verify not [only] the DNA and the Prosecutor General’s Office, but also the DIICOT, because Romanian prosecutors, the 2,650 prosecutors, are working in the main structures. So, it would be unfair to go to some and avoid others. Before a deadline I haven’t established yet, I will order an external audit on the DNA, the High Court of Cassation and Justice’s Prosecutor’s Office and the DIICOT. (…) The evaluation that is the Justice Minister’s prerogative wasn’t a superficial one but related to the Public Ministry within the limits of constitutional competencies. A correct assessment entails both procedures, of relating to the Constitution and of evaluating the management,” Tudorel Toader told Antena3 private television broadcaster.

The Justice Minister gave examples of areas of activity that will be audited, mentioning the duration of solving a case file, the number of defendants, of people arrested, of acquittals and condemnations at the ECHR.

Concerning the evaluation of the DNA’s and the Prosecutor General Office’s activity, following the probe into Ordinance 13, the Justice Minister explained that the Constitutional Court ruling which established that there is a conflict between the branches of government does not entail sanctions.

“Unfortunately, it’s not the first time when a branch of government enters in another branch’s area of constitutional prerogatives. (…) Unfortunately, there have been many such conflicts, maybe some more serious, and the CCR gave the same three directions – it noted the conflict, its cause, and offered the remedy so that gridlocks would no longer exist. (…) In all constitutional conflicts noted by the CCR there was never the question… there was no resort to sanctions other than the constitutional remedies pronounced by the Court by pointing the future conduct,” Tudorel Toader explained.

In what concerns the fact that his talk with DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi was preceded by a meeting with U.S. Ambassador Hans Klemm, the Justice Minister said his talk with the latter did not tackle the auditing of the prosecutor’s offices and did not influence him in his decision.

Dragnea claims he disagrees with dignitaries hiring their own relatives: They should meet at home. What the PSD leader says about the withdrawal of political support for the Justice Minister

PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Wednesday, in Sinaia, that he disagrees with dignitaries hiring their relatives at their cabinets, pointing out that they should meet their relatives at home, on holidays, on Christmas or over the weekend. On the other hand, Liviu Dragnea pointed out that withdrawing political support for Justice Minister Tudorel Toader is out of the question “at this moment,” pointing out that he did not invite him at PSD’s NatExCom meeting and the ruling coalition’s meeting in Sinaia because he was not the “topic” of the meetings.

Asked whether withdrawing the political support for Toader is in the cards, Dragnea answered: “In my opinion, no. At least not at this moment.”

“I believe the minister, leaving aside the very great experience and expertise he has, must gain political experience too. It’s a Government with political stripes and I believe he will learn from these discrepancies in communication. Still, he must come up with the laws that everyone is expecting,” Dragnea added.

Asked whether he invited the Justice Minister at PSD’s NatExCom meeting, Dragnea answered: “I haven’t, because he’s not on topic at the coalition [meeting] or at the parliamentarians’ meeting. We have time to talk with him.”

The PSD leader reiterated his “disappointment” with Toader’s report following his evaluation of the chief prosecutors’ activity.

“I’m not reproaching him because I’m not a reproach provider, but I publicly told him I’ll support his decision if it is well-argued, a clear-cut decision. He built a case and a very good argument, massively based on the reasons of the CCR ruling, with a conclusion that should have been different. This is my disappointment,” Dragnea said in Sinaia.

Asked about the bill that strikes out the notion of conflict of interest for civil servants and allows dignitaries to hire their relatives, Dragnea answered: “I disagree with the relatives [part]. It’s good to meet the relatives at home, on holidays, on Christmas, over the weekend. I disagree with relatives being hired at a dignitary’s cabinet. Categorically not.”

The members of the Judiciary Committee adopted on Tuesday a bill that modifies Article 301 and Article 308 of the Criminal Code, replacing the term “conflict of interest” with “use of office to favour other persons” and eliminating from Article 308 the reference to Article 301.

Lower Chamber MP Eugen Nicolicea (PSD) claimed that the legislation in force was generating “confusion” on the conflict of interest, the term that the Lower Chamber MPs replaced with “use of office to favour other persons” by adopting, within the Judiciary Committee, the law amending Article 301 and Article 308 of the Criminal Code.

“For instance, the definition of the conflict of interest is: adopting or taking part in the adoption of a decision that favours a person with whom you have a certain work-related or family relationship, decision that results in a benefit for that person. This means that when the Constitutional Court judges elect their president they are criminals; the MPs, when they elect their Speaker, are criminals because they have work-related relationship with him; the Romanian President committed a crime when he hired, as his advisers, people with whom he worked at the city hall,” PSD MP Eugen Nicolicea stated at the end of the Judiciary Committee meeting which adopted the bill amending Article 301 and Article 308 of the Criminal Code.

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