National Union of Romanian Judges (UNJR) President Dana Girbovan has raised a series of questions for ex-Justice Minister Monica Macovei, who decided to dismantle the Independent Service for Protection and Anticorruption (SIPA) SIPA/DGPA in 2006, seeking to find out how was Macovei able to have information from the SIPA archive and to know that the institution was using magistrates who were undercover officers. The dispute comes after the two had an exchange over the controversies concerning Victor Ponta and his possible link to the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE).
Dana Girbovan recently made statements about SIPA and Monica Macovei. MEP Monica Macovei wrote on Facebook on Friday that the UNJR President must bring “evidence” to back one of the statements she made, namely: “Worst is the fact that this information can be used now too, obviously illegally. Monica Macovei stated at the time, before the archive was sealed off, that Mr Ponta is vulnerable to blackmail with the help of the information contained there.”
Macovei claims she did not make such statements during that time but in 2014, 9 years after the SIPA archive was sealed off and in a different context.
“With my October 2014 statement, I was discussing the way in which Rodica Stanoiu was probably using SIPA and the information from the archive, about which public allegations had appeared since 2005, this being the reason why I actually took the decision to dismantle SIPA and seal off the archive. I certainly did not state that I have information from the SIPA archive and that Victor Ponta could be blackmailed thus,” Macovei wrote on Facebook.
In response, Dana Girbovan claims that the statement she made on television was taken out of context by the press and does not reflect her statements.
On this occasion, the judge also raised a series of questions for Monica Macovei. The latter, in her capacity as Justice Minister, issued in 2006 a Government decision that dismantled the DGPA/SIPA and the institution’s archive was sealed off.
Girbovan asks Macovei whether the SIPA archive was investigated prior to the issuance of the decision that dismantled the institution, who ordered and carried out this investigation and where were the conclusions published. Moreover, the judge wants to know whether during the 6-month period that elapsed from the issuance of the Government decision and the actual date on which SIPA was dissolved there was a commission that accessed, investigated, tallied and inventoried the SIPA archive and whether, after the institution was dissolved and until the end of her term in office there was any other commission investigating this case.
“How does she know what the intelligence reports from the SIPA archive dossiers contained? How does she know that SIPA was collecting intelligence also with the help of magistrates who were undercover officers? Did she notify the Supreme Magistracy Council about this aspect, the existence of undercover officers among magistrates? Her statement that the SIPA archive contained documents dating back only since 2001 is based on what, and what happened to the documents prior to that year?” the judge asks.
The dispute started from statements that Macovei made during the presidential elections of 2014, when information appeared according to which Victor Ponta had allegedly been an undercover Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) officer.
“Proof that Ponta was undercover officer? Maybe someone will swift through the SIPA archive too. If we want proof that Ponta was undercover officer, I suggest we look in the SIPA archive too. (…) Such information, that Securitate collaborator Rodica Stanoiu was probably using to blackmail magistrates, was obviously obtained from within the body of magistrates too, by judges and prosecutors who were undercover officers. Ponta entered the Prosecutor General’s Office precisely during the period in which he was undercover officer, although he was not meeting the legal conditions, so by eluding the law, through the minister’s order issued by Rodica Stanoiu, collaborator of the Securitate,” Macovei stated in 2014.
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated on Wednesday morning that he will declassify the SIPA archive “in the shortest of times and in observance of the legal deadlines and procedures.” Supreme Court President Cristina Tarcea pointed out she supports this overture, however it should be made in several stage, the first stage being to inventory the documents.
‘Evenimentul Zilei’ wrote last Monday that a part of the SIPA archives – which allegedly ranges from 10,000 to 21,000 documents, including 3,000 dossiers on magistrates – was copied, while some documents were stolen and even destroyed.
The Independent Service for Protection and Anticorruption (SIPA) was established in 1991, as a structure subordinated to the General Directorate of Penitentiaries, and was tasked with monitoring events within penitentiaries. In 1997, Justice Minister Valeriu Stoica made SIPA subordinate to the Justice Ministry in order for it to deal with protecting magistrates too.
Macovei: As minister, I decided I should not receive SIPA reports. My predecessors received them and did not dismantle the Service
MEP Monica Macovei wrote on Facebook that, unlike her predecessors who did not take any measure against the Service, as Justice Minister she decided not to receive reports from SIPA. The statement came after UNJR President Dana Girbovan asked the ex-minister what was the source of her information from the SIPA archive.
“In 2005, as a minister, I decided that no SIPA/DGPA report should come to me. I repeat: I didn’t receive any dossier, I didn’t take out any dossier, I didn’t make any photocopy. (…) Before my stint, all these reports, regardless whether they concerned corruption, gossip or whatever they concerned, were arriving at the minister and the minister was deciding what to do with it,” Macovei wrote.
She “rhetorically” asked why all her predecessors received these reports but nobody decided to dissolve SIPA before she did. “I want to insist once more on the following thing: it’s false, it’s a lie that I allegedly took out documents, or that I allegedly received documents from there. I didn’t receive any dossier, I didn’t take out any dossier, I didn’t make any photocopy. And I had no interest apart from dissolving it, precisely as a measure for the independence of the judiciary,” she added.