President Klaus Iohannis stated on Thursday that “some criminals” are making a “desperate” and “pathetic” attempt to discredit the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) and reaffirmed that this institution and its leadership “are doing a great job.”
“We have, for who knows which time in a row, a scandal in the public sphere and I believe this time, a lot of people expect me to express my opinion on the issue. As far as I am concerned, things can be summed up in a few words: some criminals are making a desperate attempt to discredit the DNA and the leadership of this directorate. In my opinion, this attempt is a pathetic and unconvincing one, and you know my viewpoint on the DNA’s activity all too well, but I enjoy repeating it: I consider that the DNA and its leadership are doing a great job and this attack or this attempted attack on behalf of some criminals.
“For now, I see no reasons to revoke Kovesi”
President Klaus Iohannis said Thursday night he sees no reasons so far to revoke the head of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Laura-Codruta Kovesi from office.
He added that the Justice minister will have to come with an extremely documented case should he request the removal from office of the DNA head.
“So far, I truly see no reasons to withdraw her from office, but there might be some reasons I am not aware of and that are known by the Justice minister. In this case, the minister will certainly show up with an extremely documented case if he were to demand such thing. Once more, I currently see no reasons to revoke (the DNA head, ed. n),” Iohannis told a press conference at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
Quizzed whether in case the Justice minister does forward a removal from office request, Iohannis will ask for and consider the consultative opinion of the Superior Council of the Magistracy (CSM), the president said that the “CSM has always proved to be a very dedicated institution, as written in the fundamental law, in the sense of guaranteeing and strengthening the justice independence,” so, he will take “very seriously” all of the CSM steps.
“I met with PM and Dragnea; I voiced discontent with Justice scandal”
President Klaus Iohannis announced he met on Thursday with Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and Deputies’ Chamber Speaker Liviu Dragnea, Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader, on which occasion he voiced his discontent with the latest scandals regarding the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA).
“I welcomed Mrs Prime Minister Dancila and Mr Speaker Dragnea here, at Cotroceni. This meeting had been planned ever since the evening when the swearing-in took place and the purpose of this meeting was that of defining the framework of the institutional collaboration between myself and the new government. I discussed at this meeting the need for collaboration on certain projects that are of national importance. I would mention a few which we have also discussed. The first and most important – the preparation for the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the second big national programme is, certainly, the Centennial. The Centennial (…) is Romania’s and Romanians’ as well, and I believe a coordination of actions is needed. (…) And yes, we have also discussed about Justice and about what was agreed with the Justice Minister, and I voiced my discontent that there is a new scandal regarding Justice, the DNA, more exactly, in the public space,” the head of state said at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
He pointed out that the Prime Minister told him that she gives Minister Tudorel Toader room for action.
“The Prime Minister has told me, very briefly, of course, that she had a discussion with the Justice Minister, to whom she told that she gives him room for action in this matter on this DNA issue. “And, shortly, you could watch the Justice Minister’s position who informed us that he will inform us,” the President added.
Another project in which the President wishes to work on with the Government and the parliamentary majority refers to the organization of the “Summit of the Three Seas” in Bucharest, on which occasion he invited several heads of state. “We invited for this autumn several presidents in our region for a summit called the ‘Summit of the Three Seas’ – and here the optional option – good cooperation with the Government is needed,” Klaus Iohannis detailed.
Asked why he summoned Liviu Dragnea and not the Senate’s speaker, Iohannis said: “At the investiture ceremony, I was asked if after a few days of exercising the position of prime minister I would agree to have a meeting between the three of us, I agreed and today we have had this meeting.”
According to the head of state, “Justice is done in the courtroom.”
“In am in no situation here to mediate between the DNA and the defendants, it is not necessary. In this case, the judges will speak, after which we will find out the conclusions,” Klaus Iohannis said.
Setting up parliamentary inquiry committee on SPP activity – petty politics potter-around
Setting up a parliamentary inquiry committee regarding the activity of the Protection and Guard Service (SPP) is a petty politics demarche, as the activity of this institution could be analysed just fine by the Defence Committees, President Klaus Iohannis stated on Thursday at Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
Asked how he comments upon the establishment of an inquiry committee in Parliament concerning the Protection and Guard Service and the fact that the head of the service, Lucian Pahontu, is accused by Social Democratic Party (PSD) Chairman Liviu Dragnea for allegedly using this institution for illegally obtaining information about dignitaries, the President said: “Yes, I have heard such matters being spread in the public sphere. He did not report that to me.”
The head of state reaffirmed that SPP is a body of professionals who do a great job. “I have a very clear opinion both about SPP and SPP”s activity, starting from the director to the last employee. The SPP is a body of professionals who do a great job, very tough, I appreciate them for their work and not only I, many others appreciate them. For example, the United Nations Organisation frequently resort to SPP for the protection of certain dignitaries who are sent to complicated areas. I thought in Parliament there is something like an intent to set up something, some sort of committee in order to verify this activity. The activity carried out by SPP and SPP’s leadership is analysed by CSAT [Romania’s Supreme Council for National Defence, ed.n.] and this demarche in Parliament seems to me, if you allow me to put it a little more informally, a petty politics potter-around, because if there had been the desire to analyse the SPP’s activity, this could have been carried out just fine in the Defence Committees, according to the law,” Klaus Iohannis underscored.
Asked whether he received any information exceeding the legal framework from Lucian Pahontu, the President denied: “No, I haven’t. I haven’t even requested such information or briefing. I have a good, fair institutional relation with everyone in my subordination and I would not expose them to something like this.”
The plenary sitting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate will reunite on Tuesday, at 14:00 hrs, for a vote on the decision to set up a parliamentary inquiry committee for verifying the activities of the SPP’s head, Lucian Pahontu and the ways in which the latter has involved the institution in endeavors that exceed the legal framework of activity.
Parliament’s joint plenary have decided on Thursday to convene on Tuesday, 14:00 hrs, the joint plenary sitting, the setting up of a parliamentary inquiry committee for verifying the activities of the SPP’s head being on the agenda
Former PSD MP Vlad Cosma claims that DNA Ploiesti leadership asked him to invent evidence for a case related to Sebastian Ghita and Victor Ponta. DNA rejects the accusation and reveals the transcript of some recordings containing attempts to compromise prosecutors.Head of DNA Ploiesti: I never falsified evidence. It’s Vlad Cosma’s spin, he hopes to get away. Just today I asked the JI to carry out verifications, we won’t give in to pressures