JUSTICE

Court ruling in Constantin Nita’s case, expected on May 23. DNA demands executory prison sentence; ex-Energy Minister pleads not guilty and wants “fair trial”

The Supreme Court concluded on Tuesday the trial of the dossier in which former Energy Minister Constantin Nita is charged with influence peddling, and postponed its ruling for May 23. National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors have demanded an executory prison sentence, while the former minister has said he cannot be convicted for crimes he did not commit and trusts the trial will be fair.

The trial started in September 2016, at the High Court of Cassation and Justice, concluding after ten court hearings.

At the last court hearing, on Tuesday, ex-minister Constantin Nita pointed out that he did not receive money from businessman Tiberiu Urdareanu in order to help his company win a public contract awarded by the Iasi City Hall, that he is disappointed with the fact that the prosecutor asked the court to issue an executory prison sentence against him and that he is confident “the trial will be fair.”

“I’m extremely disappointed with the prosecutor’s proposal. I regret I’m in such a situation. I never asked any sum of money from Mr Urdareanu, I never promised him anything. I did not take part in the signing of any contracts, I only introduced Urdareanu to Mr Mihai Ghirda (former PSD Brasov President – editor’s note). What they did afterward I saw in the indictment. I never took any money from that company. You can see the circuit of the money, the money didn’t end up with Nita, nor with the party. I’m a responsible man, who has met hundreds of businessmen, has led groups of people. I’m profoundly marked by the prosecutor’s request. I trust a fair trial and I don’t believe I can be convicted for some crimes I didn’t commit,” Nita said.

The DNA prosecutor present at the last court hearing asked the court to issue an executory prison sentence for influence peddling against ex-minister Constantin Nita and to confiscate 303,000 lei and 30,000 euro from him, money he allegedly received from Tiberiu Urdareanu in order to help his company win a public contract awarded by the Iasi City Hall. The DNA magistrate also asked the upholding of the distraint placed on Nita’s assets and of the 150,000-lei bond.

Supreme Court judges will issue their ruling on May 23.

During the April 11th court hearing, Constantin Nita denied taking money from businessman Tiberiu Urdareanu, telling the judges that he “isn’t stupid” to take a bribe in a hotel full of surveillance cameras and that the owner of UTI Group “suspected him if stupidity” when saying he handed him an envelope full of money in the hotel.

In June 2016, DNA prosecutors indicted Constantin Nita for influence peddling.

According to the prosecutors’ indictment, in 2013, Constantin Nita, Energy Minister at the time, asked Tiberiu Urdareanu – who is the denouncer in the case – for a kickback representing 5 percent of the value of a contract awarded by the Iasi City Hall.

Investigators claim Nita demanded the kickback after the contract awarding procedure started and after the Iasi Mayor demanded a 10 percent kickback, namely in the first part of 2013.

On 21 July 2013, Constantin Nita allegedly received 30,000 euro from Urdareanu. The alleged transaction took place in a Lebanese restaurant located within a hotel in Bucharest.

The kickback was paid in two instalments, namely 30,000 euros and 303,118 lei, investigators claim.

Investigators placed a distraint upon Constantin Nita’s real-estate assets, up to the concurrence with the sum of 435,823 lei.

 

 

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