Prosecutors from the Prosecutor General’s Office have demanded documents from the Standing Electoral Authority (AEP), the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR), the Special Telecommunications Service (STS) and the Prosecutor’s Office of the Bucharest Court of Appeals in the case concerning the 2009 presidential elections, judicial sources told MEDIAFAX.
Each institution was asked for specific data, the sources pointed out. The Prosecutor’s Office of the Bucharest Court of Appeals was asked to provide data on the existence of electoral fraud complaints. Former Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea was heard as witness in this case.
The Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice pointed out, last Thursday, that the offences of abuse of office and forging of electoral documents and evidence, offences for which the criminal prosecution started in this case, expire under the statute of limitations in 10 years and 8 years respectively.
At the same time, PSD President Liviu Dragnea pointed out last Thursday that President Klaus Iohannis could be heard by the parliamentary commission of inquiry too, if the conclusion reached is that this hearing is of importance. In response, the Presidential Spokesperson stated last Friday that a parliamentary commission cannot investigate a case that is already “on a court’s table,” pointing out that there is “no kind of invitation for the President to take part in such a meeting.”
PSD and ALDE asked for a parliamentary inquiry to clarify the aspects related to the way the 2009 presidential elections were organised but also to their result, following journalist Dan Andronic’s revelations about the night of the elections and persons from Traian Basescu’s entourage. Journalist Dan Andronic published, on evz.ro, an article in which he claimed that on the evening of the presidential runoff of 2009, in his capacity as political consultant, he went to Gabriel Oprea’s home, where he met, among others, SRI Director George Maior, SRI First Deputy Director Florian Coldea and Prosecutor General Laura Codruta Kovesi. Dan Andronic wrote that, on the evening of the runoff, Florian Coldea and Laura Codruta Kovesi were preoccupied with Traian Basescu’s victory.
President Iohannis on 2009 elections commission: I don’t believe this is the priority
President Klaus Iohannis stated on Wednesday, in Suceava, that the commission of inquiry into the 2009 presidential elections is not the priority, considering that major defence procurements “have been sitting idle for several weeks.”
“I don’t believe this was the number one priority for Parliament. The Parliament and the ruling coalition should not forget that the country has plenty of problems. Major defence procurements have been sitting idle in Parliament for several weeks, we are not discussing them but we’re discussing the 2009 elections. Things have to be prioritised at Parliament level too,” President Klaus Iohannis stated.
Eugen Nicolicea: In-rem probe into 2009 elections, a trick on the part of the Prosecutor General’s Office
Lower Chamber Judiciary Committee Chairman Eugen Nicolicea (PSD) stated on Tuesday that the Prosecutor General’s Office “tried to pull a trick” in what concerns the probe into the 2009 elections. Nicolicea pointed out that when starting an in-rem probe the Prosecutor General’s Office should have said which institution is thought to have committed electoral fraud based on existing evidence.
“In this situation, the Prosecutor’s Office tried to pull a trick, copying from the draft decision, forgetting that the offence of forging electoral documents was not even in force at the time the guilty acts were committed. (…) You’ll see they forgot to write what articles of the Code [were broken]. Why? To make a mess of it,” Lower Chamber Judiciary Committee Chairman Eugen Nicolicea said.
He added that the Prosecutor General should have known which is the institution that committed electoral fraud once it started an in-rem probe.
“Normally, they should have said why they started the in-rem probe. There is no such thing as a general in rem, there’s in rem on an article. Here you’ll see that abuse of office, as its name says, is a work-related offence and if you don’t know the person – it’s obvious they don’t because they started an in-rem probe – you have to at least know the office, meaning the institution concerned,” Eugen Nicolicea said.
Asked whether the Prosecutor’s Office has information that could shed light on the presidential elections of 2009, Eugen Nicolicea stated that the start of the in-rem probe shows that the prosecutor has “strong evidence that certain institutions got involved in falsifying the elections.”
“It remains for Mr Lazar to tell us if he started the in-rem probe; that means the situation is really serious. I believe he should say it publicly. But you gave me an idea, to lodge a written question in my capacity as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. (…) I believe a clarification is called for. (…) If he didn’t have such clues he couldn’t have started the in-rem probe,” Nicolicea added.
Former PM Ponta: Prosecutor’s Office investigates criminal offences, Parliament makes political inquiries
It is “logical” for a parliamentary committee to make an inquiry, even if the Prosecutor’s Office are having a parallel investigation on the same subject, because the prosecutors are investigating criminal facts, whilst the Parliament is making political inquiries, on Wednesday said the social-democrat deputy, former Prime Minister Victor Ponta, at the Parliament Palace.
“It is logical (for a parliamentary committee to make an inquiry parallel to the Prosecutor’s Office – ed. n.) because the prosecutors are investigating criminal deeds as provided in the Criminal Code – let alone that I didn’t get what they are currently investigating, perhaps they know better. I, for one, do not believe it a criminal offence in the Criminal Code that some people have got together at someone’s house. The Parliament is making political inquiries, because the Parliament is a political structure elected by this country’s citizens. So, they are not opposite and do not block each other, as the General Prosecutor tried to block this one. Perhaps the Prosecutor’s Office doesn’t find anything from the criminal viewpoint, but the political significance is huge. Not everything political is criminal or what is criminal is political either. This is what we try to explain Mrs. Kovesi, too since she is always taking the politics to the penal. The politicians she doesn’t like, they are criminals,” said Ponta.
He added that he wishes to vote for the 2009 presidential election inquiry committee to be established and that he will show up at hearings, if invited.
“I want to come, let this committee be made, so they summon me. And I want to make clear for those who have it unclear, on Monday, after the presidential election, I left the country, I don’t know exactly what has happened afterwards. I can go and will go to the committee to say all that I know about what was it by Sunday night, by Monday. After that, I don’t really know what happened, yet I admit I wish I knew as a citizen of Romania, as a man who didn’t want Basescu as president, I wish I knew how he was elected, because I don’t get it, not even now,” Ponta said.