National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi was heard on Friday, for approximately three and a half hours, before the Supreme Magistracy Council’s (CSM) Section for Prosecutors, in regard to the Judicial Inspection’s report on the activity of the DNA.
Before the prosecutors, she claimed that the audit report is not unitary – judicial inspectors reaching different conclusions on the same topic –, that there is a lack of methodology in the drafting of the report and that some members of the audit team undersigned the report, while others signed only certain pages.
Likewise, she said that the Judicial Inspection’s report on the DNA’s activity contains many false and erroneous statements, explaining that the allegation according to which acquittals have risen by 87 percent is “completely untrue.” Kovesi added that the JI analysis was superficial, prosecutors being accused of false issues. Moreover, the DNA Chief claimed, the activity of the DNA’s press bureau was also verified, however the inspectors actually verified a different website, not the DNA’s.
“When we accuse a person of having deficiencies in their activity, we must explain what that deficiency is and refer to concrete data, so that they mend their activity in the future. We notice that in this report, of the 19 defendants acquitted via final court ruling in 2017, eight were indicted in 2011, a year in which certain prosecutors of this section were not even at the DNA. I find it completely incorrect to accuse a prosecutor or a chief who was not even working within the DNA in 2011 of the fact that they received, in 2017, acquittals in dossiers sent to court and verified in 2011. You will notice in certain statistical data that I provided that 74 percent of the acquittals were [ruled on] indictments made in 2007-2009 or 2011, before most of the section’s prosecutors were working at the DNA,” Kovesi stated before the CSM’s Section for Prosecutors which is analysing the Judicial Inspection’s report on the DNA leadership’s activity.
The DNA Chief said that the same situation is also registered in what concerns the section for combating corruption crimes.
“To a fairly large extent, the defendants were indicted before 2012. Likewise, it was easy for the inspectors to notice that most cases saw prison sentences of 2, 5 or 10 years ruled in the court of first instance, then there were acquittals. If a prosecutor sends a dossier in court, obtains a 10-year prison sentence in that dossier, and an acquittal is subsequently ruled, is the prosecutor guilty? (…) When it is said that acquittals have grown by 87 percent, this statement is completely untrue and dismissed by statistical data,” Kovesi claimed.
She pointed out that in 2017, for instance, the number of acquittals has grown by 37 percent year-on-year, and the percentage of acquittals is not invented by the DNA, the methodology sent by the CSM being used to calculate it.
The DNA Chief Prosecutor added that the statistical data confirm that the Judicial Inspection carried out a superficial analysis and “the prosecutors were blamed for certain issues that are not real.”
Elena Radescu, the coordinator of the Judicial Inspection team that carried out the audit at the DNA, was heard for approximately three hours at the Section for Prosecutors on Thursday. Prosecutor Gheorghe Stan, Judicial Inspection’s Deputy Chief Inspector, is scheduled to go before the Section for Prosecutors on Monday.
“The activity of the press bureau was verified, but not even the DNA’s website was correctly written”
Kovesi also told the Section for Prosecutors that judicial inspectors verified the activity of the DNA press bureau, however they verified a different website, not the DNA’s website.
“Returning to the superficial way this report was drafted, the activity of the press bureau was verified. Not even the DNA’s website was correctly written. You’ll see, they verified what is uploaded on nknta.ro. But our website is pna.ro, so it’s not a one-letter mistake. And I wonder, how could you make an audit without knowing what you audited and how could you write down such errors,” Laura Codruta Kovesi stated.
The DNA Chief said errors, even grammatical errors, can be accepted, however she wondered why “the errors are always to our detriment and not in our favour.”
“I’m convinced one can make one-letter errors, or grammatical errors. But to say you verified the activity of the press bureau and what the DNA uploads on the website, and the website is not the correct one… (…) We accept that there are errors, but sometimes we wonder why the errors are always to our detriment and not in our favour,” Kovesi emphasised.
She also gave as example the fact that there are prosecutors who complained that their volume of activity was not included in the report.
“25 percent of the dossiers handled by prosecutor Iorga have been verified. A judicial inspector made a list of dossiers which he ticked off once he verified them”
Kovesi also stated before the CSM, on Friday, that 25 percent of the dossiers handled by prosecutor Mihaiela Moraru Iorga – dismissed from the DNA – were verified. Kovesi claimed that one of the judicial inspectors who were part of the audit team made a list of dossiers, which he ticked off once he verified, and added that she does not understand why the audit report states they were not verified, since the list exists.
“In the point of view, I described the steps that were taken and I showed, with documents, that 25 percent of the dossiers handled by prosecutor Mihaiela Moraru Iorga were verified. The percentage was not chosen by me, nor by the head of Section II, the percentage was chosen by Judicial Inspection inspectors. It’s very interesting that on the day we were called to present prosecutor Iorga’s dossiers for auditing, the judicial inspector – inspector Chitriuc – decided to personally write a list of dossiers. And I’m asking you to note he ticked off all the dossiers he verified,” Laura Codruta Kovesi stated, pointing out that only one dossier was left unverified, because it was at the section chief for the confirmation of a solution.
The DNA Chief Prosecutor said she does not understand why the audit report does not mention that these dossiers were verified, considering that the list of dossiers, each ticked off once it was verified, exists.
“I wonder, when you yourself write down the dossiers, tick off those you’ve verified, how can you say in the report that these dossiers were not verified? It’s important to note there is an official report drafted by the coordinator of the audit team, who informed us in writing not to present these dossiers for auditing. Nevertheless, we did present them. We presented them in line with this list,” Kovesi emphasised.
Prosecutor Mihaiela Moraru Iorga – dismissed from DNA in July – will be able to return to the DNA, the CSM’s Section for Prosecutors decided on October 3. The decision will remain in force until the Bucharest Court of Appeals makes a final ruling on the prosecutor’s request to cancel the dismissal decision.
Toader asked if dismissing Laura Codruta Kovesi is called for: Conclusions, after the hearings end. At this moment we can’t talk about conclusions
When asked, on Friday, at the end of the hearings at the CSM’s Section for Prosecutors whether the dismissal of National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Chief Prosecutor is called for, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated that decisions cannot be made now, with conclusions set to be reached only after the Judicial Inspection report is analysed and after the Section for Prosecutors hearings conclude.
“The conclusions… after the hearings end, after we study the entire report. At this moment we can’t talk about conclusions,” Tudorel Toader stated when leaving the CSM.
DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi made no comments when leaving the CSM headquarters.
“As minister, I didn’t establish the audit’s subjects, neither the audit’s timetable, nor the procedure. I only asked the Judicial Inspection to carry out an audit”
As part of his statement at the CSM Section for Prosecutors on Friday, where the DNA Chief Prosecutor presented her opinion on the Judicial Inspection’s report, the Justice Minister stated that in his capacity as minister he only asked the Judicial Inspection to carry out an audit, and he did not establish the audit’s subjects, timetable or the membership of the audit team.
“Within the limits of my prerogatives as Justice Minister, when selecting the procedure to follow in the carrying out of the managerial audit, as minister, I didn’t establish the audit’s subjects, neither the audit’s timetable, nor the procedure and membership of the team of inspectors who carried out the audit. I lodged the request with the JI and on Wednesday I received from you the report, in electronic format, on CD,” Tudorel Toader stated at the CSM’s Section for Prosecutors.
JusMin Toader: “I’ll propose that Judicial Inspection should be under the control of the Strategic Management Council, coordinated by the Justice Minister”
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated on Friday, within the Supreme Magistracy Council’s (CSM) Section for Prosecutors, where the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Chief Prosecutor expressed her opinion on the Judicial Inspection’s report, that he will propose that the Judicial Inspection should be under the control of the Strategic Management Council set up and coordinated by the Justice Minister.
“I won’t decide, I only propose, but as soon as possible I’ll probably propose that the Judicial Inspection should be under the control of the Strategic Management Council, a Council set up and coordinated by the Justice Minister, which includes the Prosecutor General of the Republic, the President of the High Court, the President of the CSM,” the Justice Minister stated.
He said that, this way, the Judicial Inspection will not be politicised and its independence and autonomy will be enhanced.
“Through equal and deliberative vote, the four – who are now members of the Strategic Management Council – will decide, and the Judicial Inspection will not be politicised, we will enhance its independence, autonomy,” Tudorel Toader said.
One of the most contested amendments included in the bill amending the Justice laws consisted of transferring the Judicial Inspection from the Supreme Magistracy Council to the Justice Ministry.