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September 25, 2021

Prosecutor General’s Office closes case concerning OUG 13

At the height of the scandal surrounding this legislative act, after the Constitutional Court had admitted the existence of a juridical conflict of a constitutional nature between the Public Ministry and the Government over the issue of the probe concerning Government Emergency Ordinance no.13 (OUG 13), Romanian Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar stated that the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice will continue its probe in the ‘OUG 13’ case, in connection to concrete criminal offences and persons it was notified about, and will not evaluate the legality and advisability of acts adopted by other branches of government.

“I saw the Constitutional Court ruling; obviously, it’s obligatory for all and, related to the motives, we’ll continue the investigation. Undoubtedly, the Public Ministry is notified about the criminal aspects of the problems, about concrete criminal offences and concrete persons. Consequently, the Public Ministry will not evaluate the legality, the advisability of the acts of other branches of government, but we strictly stick to the criminal aspects that have to do with the Public Ministry’s competence,” Augustin Lazar stated back then.

The Prosecutor General was pointing out that the probe into OUG 13 will continue since the prosecutor is obligated, in line with Article 5 of the Criminal Procedure Code, to find out the truth about the persons, actions and circumstances in which the actions took place.

In the dossier concerning OUG 13 on modifying the Criminal Codes, DNA prosecutors ordered, on February 24th, the closing of the case concerning the crime stipulated by Article 13 of Law no.78/2000, namely the use of influence or authority, by a person holding a leadership position within a political party, for the purpose of obtaining, for himself/herself or for another person, money, assets or other undue benefits.

Back then, investigators also decided to disjoin the case into five counts, namely: aiding and abetting; deliberately presenting Parliament or the Romanian President inaccurate data on the activity of the Government or of a minister, in order to hide the committal of guilty acts liable to damage the interests of the state (stipulated and censured by Law no.115/1999 on ministerial accountability); stealing or destroying documents; stealing or destroying evidence or documents; forgery.

At the time, the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) claimed that the Justice Ministry had destroyed the Ministry for the Relationship with Parliament’s approval report on OUG 13, a document containing observations and proposals and issued shortly before OUG 13 was approved by Government.

The DNA pointed out at the time that the legislative act had, just a few hours before its approval, only the Interior Ministry’s favourable report, which was strictly concerning traffic violations, and the Legislative Council’s approval report, which featured observations on the ordinance’s urgent character, and that the Foreign Minister signed the bill at the Government headquarters because his approval was demanded “on the spot.”

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