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January 21, 2022
POLITICS

Parliament rejects request to lift Eugen Bejinariu’s immunity, 6 months after prosecutors filed it

On Tuesday, the Lower Chamber’s plenum rejected – with 183 votes against, 88 votes in favour and 2 abstentions – the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors’ request to lift the immunity of PSD lawmaker Eugen Bejinariu. The decision was adopted via secret ballot.

Before the vote, PNL and USR announced they were going to vote in favour of having Eugen Bejinariu criminally probed. PSD, ALDE and PMP did not state how they were going to vote, while UDMR criticised the prosecutors’ request without revealing how it was going to vote.

 

Bejinariu: I’m an honest man, careful to do good, act legally

 

Eugen Bejinariu declared himself innocent at the Lower Chamber’s rostrum, stating that the contract concerning Microsoft licences was closed through a Government Decision that he was obliged to sign in his capacity as minister.

“After the contract was approved, after the legality approvals, after 13 years, a possible abuse of office is being invoked, strictly concerning the adoption of this contract via the Government’s legislative act. Absurd, esteemed colleagues. I’m an honest man, a man of good faith, and everything I’ve done in my activity I’ve done with the care and determination to do good, to act honestly and legally,” the Lower Chamber lawmaker said.

He explained that the accusations are “completely groundless” and he “categorically rejects them” because the contract was signed by the Government and Microsoft Ireland, his signature being on behalf of the Government and based on an imperative mandate stemming from a Government Decision.

“There is no evidence in the dossier that I broke any law or legislative act. (…) I didn’t even know them, I didn’t even have a meeting or talk with anyone from the company, I didn’t have any kind of involvement or participation in meetings, negotiations, official or unofficial, with Microsoft or Fujitsu or their intermediaries,” Bejinariu said, adding that as a minister he did not have legal prerogatives in negotiating the contract.

The MP stated before his colleagues that he gave statements as witness and “proved” to the prosecutor handling the case that the decisions had been officially taken before he was appointed member of Government, and after the signing of the contract other ministers succeeded him, signing additional acts, all of them nevertheless having the special approvals and legal approvals, including from the Justice Ministry.

He also explained that the contract was signed by trustees – by him on behalf of the Government and by Fujitsu Siemens Austria on behalf of Microsoft Ireland. Fujitsu was selected as trustee by the American company, so he could not have been involved in negotiations over the winners and the signatories.

“Gentlemen colleagues, I repeat, there is not even one piece of evidence in the dossier showing I committed some crime. (…) At this moment, there is Constitutional Court Decision no.68/27 February 2017, which establishes that the adoption and the content of legislative acts cannot constitute, by itself, the subject of a criminal probe. I’ve presented all these documents so that you’d vote fully aware, in line with your own conscience and with the law,” Bejinariu concluded.

 

President’s spokesperson Dobrovolschi: Parliament vote in Bejinariu case proves once more disdain for Justice

 

Spokesperson of Romania’s president Madalina Dobrovolschi stated on Tuesday that Parliament’s vote on the request to lift the immunity of Social Democratic Party (PSD – ruling party) lawmaker Eugen Bejinariu proves the ruling majority’s disdain for Justice.

“Today’s parliamentary vote regarding the request for PSD lawmaker Eugen Bejinariu’s criminal prosecution proves once again the majority’s disregard of the judiciary. It is unacceptable that some lawmakers behave as judges and decide to block the act of justice,” Dobrovolschi said.

She underscored that President Klaus Iohannis has repeatedly stated that the court alone has the power to rule on the guilt or innocence of a person, showing that this principle is not negotiable.

“The fact that the parliamentary majority does not understand to proceed according to the norms of the rule of law leads to the decrease of the citizens’ confidence in the Legislature,” concluded Dobrovolschi.

 

Dragnea: I voted in favour of lifting Bejinariu’s immunity but lawmakers from all parties voted against

 

PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Tuesday, at the Palace of Parliament, that he voted in favour of lifting PSD lawmaker Eugen Bejinariu’s immunity in view of a criminal probe, but the high number of votes “against” reveals the fact that lawmakers from all parties opposed the prosecutors’ request.

“I voted just as I asked all of my colleagues [to vote] over the years, namely “in favour”; it’s just that, as I repeatedly said, as long as we have this provision in the Constitution, there will permanently be votes of this type, which can be justified or not, I’m not the one to say,” the Lower Chamber Speaker said.

The PSD leader claimed that “once we remove that provision from the Constitution, we’ll no longer have this kind of situations.”

“I’ve asked my colleagues to vote in line with the law; they probably listened to arguments from both sides and, noticing the massive number of votes “against,” [lawmakers] from all parties voted this way. Nobody can assert himself in such situations. It’s a completely secret vote and, when it comes to persons, lawmakers have an entirely different approach. I can’t force them all to reveal their ballots,” the PSD President added.

Referring to the fact that President Iohannis believes Parliament has shown its contempt for the judiciary with this vote, Liviu Dragnea said that “this is a bit harsh.”

“If the President wants us to be partners in this overture to amend the Constitution, as he said in November 2014, we’ll gladly amend the Constitution and, among other provisions, we should also remove this provision concerning immunity,” the PSD leader concluded.

 

Iordache: What does this have to do with Parliament’s image?

 

Ex-Justice Minister Florin Iordache was asked on Tuesday in what manner is Parliament’s image affected by the rejection of DNA’s request to lift Bejinariu’s immunity, bearing in mind the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) Reports. He answered: “What does this have to do with Parliament’s image? Or why? It’s a vote in Parliament.”

At the same time, he was asked about the possibility that the Prosecutor’s Office might lodge a new request.

“The result is today’s result. What the Prosecutor’s Office will do next, I don’t know,” Florin Iordache said.

Nicusor Dan: PSD defending its corrupt members

USR President Nicusor Dan stated on Tuesday that Parliament’s rejection of the DNA request to lift PSD lawmaker Eugen Bejinariu’s immunity represents the confirmation of the fact that PSD defends its corrupt members.

“It’s a confirmation of the fact that PSD is defending its corrupt [members], what we said during the elections campaign, and I believe this is the news of the day,” Nicusor Dan said, commenting on the Lower Chamber’s decision to reject the judiciary’s request in Bejinariu’s case.

 

 

 

 

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