The Lower Chamber’s Judiciary Committee decided on Wednesday to reject the request to lift the immunity of PSD lawmaker Eugen Bejinariu as part of a criminal probe, a decision that had been postponed at the end of the last legislature. Back then, the Judiciary Committee had issued a favourable report on the lifting of Bejinariu’s immunity. Judiciary Committee Chairman Eugen Nicolicea has said that the members of the committee recommend that the plenum should not vote in favour of lifting Bejinariu’s immunity, considering that the signing of the two contracts criminally probed took place before abuse of office came into force as part of the DNA law.
The Lower Chamber rejected on Wednesday the lifting of PSD lawmaker Eugen Bejinariu’s immunity, requested as part of a criminal probe, a decision postponed at the end of the previous legislature. Back then, the Judiciary Committee had issued a favourable report on the lifting of Bejinariu’s immunity.
According to PNL MP Florin Roman, PSD, ALDE and UDMR voted against lifting the immunity, while PNL and USR voted in favour.
“Mr Eugen Nicolicea proposed that the Judiciary Committee should reject the lifting of Bejinariu’s immunity, arguing that the signing of the two contracts took place prior to abuse of office coming into force, namely prior to 2 December 2004. I told Mr Nicolicea that he is once again invoking arguments that have nothing to do with the substance of the issue. Basically, here we are not discussing the substance of the issue, that’s the prosecutors job,” Roman said.
Asked how did Eugen Nicolicea justify Wednesday’s vote, considering that a positive report had been issued in October 2016 on the same request, the PNL MP said that the members of the committee were told that the former members of the committee had made an error at that time.
“Now Mr Nicolicea invoked the fact that the members of the committee at that time omitted to look over the issue concerning the statute of limitations,” the PNL MP said.
Nicolicea : Signing of the contracts occurred prior to abuse of office coming into force
Eugen Nicolicea, Chairman of the Lower Chamber’s Judiciary Committee, stated on Wednesday that the members of the committee recommend that the plenum should not vote in favour of lifting the immunity of PSD’s Eugen Bejinariu, considering that the signing of the two contracts that are the object of the criminal probe took place before abuse of office came into force as part of the DNA law.
“With 16 votes in favour, 7 against and one abstention, the Committee recommends the plenum should not vote in favour of lifting the immunity, because the request concerns criminal offence no.13, index 2 from law no.78/2000, criminal offence that did not exist at the time the guilty act was committed. In Article 3 of the Criminal Code, the penal law is applied to criminal offences committed while the law was in force. It came into force around 2 December 2004, the guilty acts were committed before October 2004,” the PSD MP pointed out.
Asked why was this discrepancy not noticed last year, when a positive report on lifting the immunity was issued, Eugen Nicolicea said: “Probably the persons involved – I’m now referring to the prosecutor’s office, lawyers and colleagues of mine – did not notice this.”
Likewise, asked whether this is not discriminatory toward other persons who are being probed in this dossier, the Social Democrat answered negatively.
“I’m pointing you to the definition of discrimination: placing one person in a situation of inferiority toward other persons who are in the same situation. The other persons he (the Prosecutor General – editor’s note) is talking about are not ministers, they are not discriminated against in contrast to Mr Bejinariu because the guilty acts committed in one’s capacity as minister can only be committed by ministers,” the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee said.
Asked whether the Judiciary Committee’s decision is fair from a moral point of view, the MP claimed it would be immoral to approve an erroneous request.
“Yes, it’s a fair decision, it relates to the request. If the request is erroneous you can’t approve it and if you approve an erroneous request that would be immoral,” Eugen Nicolicea concluded.
The Lower Chamber’s Judiciary Committee decided on Monday to resume the procedures in the case of the request to lift MP Eugen Bejinariu’s immunity as part of a criminal probe, procedures postponed at the end of the previous legislature.
The decision came after Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar sent Lower Chamber Liviu Dragnea a letter asking him to expedite the legal measures needed to approve the request to lift the immunity of PSD MP Eugen Bejinariu, suspected of abuse of office.
The Lower Chamber plenary meeting that was expected to vote on the DNA’s request to lift the immunity of former PSD minister Eugen Bejinariu, as part of a criminal probe, was suspended on 5 December 2016, because of a lack of quorum. The meeting had been suspended a week before that too, also because of a lack of quorum.
In the December 11th elections, Eugen Bejinariu won a new seat in the Lower Chamber.
Turcan : New proof of PSD-ALDE’s position against the act of justice
Interim PNL President Raluca Turcan criticised on Wednesday, on Facebook, the Lower Chamber Judiciary Committee’s decision to reject the lifting of PSD MP Eugen Bejinariu’s immunity, stating that the decision represents new proof of PSD-ALDE’s position against the act of justice.
“Within the Judiciary Committee, on the Bejinariu case, the current parliamentary majority voted in favour of blocking the criminal probe. Paradoxically, it’s the same majority that declaratively demands the lifting of the CVM. All European Commission reports have criticised precisely this: the unjustified blocking of corruption dossiers in Parliament. This PSD-ALDE majority is unable to understand the fact that we should all be equal before the law and we should no longer have cases of politicians being above the law,” Turcan wrote on Facebook.
PNL’s interim president claims that nothing prevents Eugen Bejinariu from asking his colleagues to nevertheless vote in favour of lifting his immunity in the plenary meeting of the Lower Chamber, precisely so that a judge would be able to rule whether he is guilty or innocent.
“It is not Parliament’s role to establish guilt, but it’s this forum’s role to allow this circuit. Just as it did every time, PNL has voted transparently in favour of the request concerning the continuation of the probe, in line with the decision taken in recent years. We will vote the same in the Lower Chamber’s plenum too. We are asking the parliamentary majority to adopt the same conduct, because it’s the only correct one,” Raluca Turcan added.
Nicusor Dan: Something regrettable happened within Judiciary Committee; that’s how PSD protects its corrupt members
Save Romania Union (USR) President Nicusor Dan stated at a press conference on Wednesday that something regrettable happened within the Lower Chamber’s Judiciary Committee, this being PSD’s typical behaviour of protecting “its corrupt members.” The statements came after the members of the committee did not approve the lifting of PSD MP Eugen Bejinariu’s immunity.
“Something regrettable but predictable for the current ruling power happened today within the Judiciary Committee: Mr Bejinariu, former minister and current lawmaker… the request to start the criminal probe against him was refused. He is involved in a Microsoft scandal in which prosecutors estimate that the damage runs into the tens of millions of euro. Parliament’s consent should have existed for the simple start of the criminal probe, and the Judiciary Committee rejected this request,” Nicusor Dan pointed out.
He added that USR’s Lower Chamber lawmakers will try, within the plenum of the Lower Chamber, to change the committee’s decision.
“It’s typical PSD behaviour of protecting corrupt persons. The moment things get to the plenum, we’ll try to change this decision, but at this moment we’re once again warning the citizens: here is how PSD and their ally ALDE govern Romania!” the USR President concluded.