National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi has once again refused to appear before the parliamentary committee of inquiry into the presidential elections of 2009, where she was expected on Monday.
Kovesi has sent a letter to the members of the committee, presenting her reasons for turning down the committee’s invitation.
This is the third time the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA refuses to appear before the committee of inquiry into the presidential elections of 2009.
The DNA Chief Prosecutor says she will not appear before the committee because she does not have information that could help the committee.
Committee Chairwoman Oana Florea told the Mediafax press agency on Monday that the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA sent the committee a letter that is 90 percent identical to the previous one.
The document, obtained by Mediafax, points out that Laura Codruta Kovesi took note of the objectives of the committee, such as “verifying the legal provisions concerning the holding of presidential elections in 2009, ascertaining the involvement of institutions and/or persons other than those legally empowered in the electoral process or in political decisions that exceed the legally-established prerogatives of these institutions in the electoral process,” and points out in the end that the DNA Chief Prosecutor is not aware of the aspects signalled.
“Considering I have no knowledge about and no means of evidence concerning the circumstances and causes of the events subjected to inquiry in the case that forms the committee’s object of activity, I won’t show up at the inquiry committee’s meeting on 10 July 2017 – 11.30 a.m.,” reads Kovesi’s letter.
On July 6, the committee of inquiry into the 2009 elections decided to invite DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi at the hearings once again, following the Constitutional Court’s ruling. Asked what overtures will be made if Laura Codruta Kovesi turns down the invitation once again, Oana Florea said the overtures will be in line with the law and the Regulations. Florea added that, if she refuses to appear before the committee this time around too, complaints may be lodged with the Justice Ministry and the Prosecutor’s Office.
“We’ll do what the law and the regulations say. The decision is not mine, it will be adopted by vote. We will either have to file a complaint with the Justice Ministry or, if the colleagues consider it advisable, we will go with Mr Plesoianu’s option (filing a criminal complaint – editor’s note),” PSD’s Lower Chamber lawmaker said.
Florea: The fact that some show up or they don’t shouldn’t prevent us from continuing our activity
Florea announced that a decision on Laura Codruta Kovesi’s refusal to appear before the committee will be taken on Monday, the options considered being to notify the Justice Ministry or to file a criminal complaint.
“We have two possibilities. One is to notify the superior authority (the Justice Ministry – editor’s note). The second is the criminal complaint. (…) The fact that some show up or they don’t shouldn’t prevent us from continuing our activity,” Oana Florea said.
She pointed out that a decision will be adopted, by vote, during Monday’s meeting. The Committee Chairwoman said she will not table a proposal and will wait and see what her colleagues’ suggestions are. Florea did not comment on the absence of the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA.
“I have no opinion on it [Kovesi’s refusal – editor’s note). That’s what she believes, that she doesn’t have to show up,” Oana Florea stated.
Parliamentary committee of inquiry votes to notify JusMin about Kovesi’s refusal
The parliamentary committee of inquiry decided on Monday, with six votes in favour, to send a letter to Laura Codruta Kovesi, asking her whether she was at Gabriel Oprea’s on the night of the presidential runoff in 2009. The proposal was tabled by PNL’s Daniel Fenechiu.
The members of the committee also decided to notify Justice Minister Tudorel Toader that the Chief Prosecutor did not appear before the committee of inquiry despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling. The decision was adopted in a 7-3 vote.
Likewise, the committee decided to ask the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice (PICCJ) to make available the referral that closed the case and copies of the statements made by the persons heard in the case, considering that many of them refused to appear before the committee. The proposal, tabled by ex-Justice Minister Florin Iordache, was approved with 9 votes in favour and one abstention.
Plesoianu on Codruta Kovesi’s absence: Regulations plainly state it’s obstruction of activity
PSD’s Lower Chamber lawmaker Liviu Plesoianu stated on Monday, at the end of the meeting of the committee of inquiry into the 2009 presidential elections, referring to the notification that will lodged with the Justice Ministry regarding DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi’s refusal to take part in the hearings, that the regulations state that if the activity of the committee is obstructed then one of the paths to censure that is to notify the criminal prosecution bodies. Plesoianu asked his committee colleagues to find the article based on which the filing of a criminal complaint against Laura Codruta Kovesi would be proposed at the next committee meeting.
“It’s not my duty to find the article. We have very many enlightened juridical minds within the PSD, who drafted those regulations. I, as a member of the committee, don’t have to suddenly start law school now. I must observe the regulations, because I was appointed within this committee, which has regulations thought-out by people from this Parliament. The regulations plainly state that if the activity of the committee is obstructed, one of the ways of censuring this is to notify the criminal prosecution bodies,” Liviu Plesoianu stated.
The Social Democrat pointed out that this is why he asks his colleagues from the Juridical Committee, or those who drafted the said regulations, to explain what they had in mind when they did.
“This (legal experts looking for the article on whose basis the filing of a criminal complaint against Laura Codruta Kovesi would be proposed at the next committee meeting – editor’s note) is needed. You can’t draft some regulations and then come up and say there is no correlation between the regulations and the Criminal Code – if we’re talking about an offence on whose basis you notify the criminal prosecution bodies. It is, in my view, lamentable to act this way, but even if my proposal were to pass now, it would have stopped at Mr Lazar, I have no doubt about it” Plesoianu explained.
He added that his only expectation is for the Justice Minister “to no longer consider it’s not advisable” to demand the dismissal of the head of the DNA.
“Now Ms Kovesi is infringing on a recent Constitutional Court ruling which plainly says that she is obligated to show up when summoned. If it’s not advisable not even now, then I believe the Romanian Parliament can go home,” the Social Democrat said.
Referring to the fact that PSD’s Lower Chamber lawmaker Eugen Nicolicea said there is no article on whose basis a criminal complaint can be lodged if an offence is not mentioned, Plesoianu stated that Nicolicea has significant juridical experience and should be asked if he took part in the drafting of the regulations or knows who did.
Likewise, he pointed out that the notification to be lodged with the Justice Ministry will clearly state that the Constitution has been broken.