Chief Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi announced on Wednesday at the presentation of this institution’s 2017 activity report that anti-graft prosecutors have solved last year over 3,800 cases, an all-time high for this body.
“In 2017 DNA prosecutors had over 11,200 cases on their hands. Although only about 100 prosecutors have effectively carried out criminal investigation activities, more than 3,800 cases have been solved, the highest number in one year since the establishment of the directorate. It’s been a joint effort of the prosecutors, police officers, DNA experts and clerks,” Kovesi said.
She added that the current resources are not enough for all cases recorded in one year to be completed, as many require the handling of complex evidence.
“In 2017 more than 23,100 people have been heard, 85 a day on average, and more than 12 million documents have been studied. This is what the DNA personnel have done this year. Despite this effort more than 6,000 cases were left unsolved at the end of the year, almost twice the feasible workload of DNA prosecutors for one year,” the DNA chief said.
Kovesi specified that prosecutors do not have a minimum required number of indictments, as they have to establish the truth based on evidence and order the indictment only when they have solid proof of the facts.
Goods worth more than 200 M euro impounded in 2017
Goods worth over 200 million euro were impounded in 2017 by the anti-corruption prosecutors, DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi also underlined at this body’s annual activity report.
“Like every year, there was a preoccupation for the recovery of the damages produced by the criminal activity. The insurance measures mandated by the prosecutors to redress the damage done by crime park at over 200 million euro,” Kovesi said, adding that another almost 160 million euro are to be recovered by the state, following certain final sentences pronounced last year.
“This money has to effectively enter the state budget. It is the obligation of the tax bodies to execute these court decisions as soon as possible,” the DNA head added.
“ Anti-graft move has been strongly challenged”
Chief Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi said on Wednesday, at the presentation of the said body’s 2017 activity report, that the anti-graft move has been strongly challenged and questioned in the past year.
“This is a time when we look at what we’ve done well, at what we haven’t done well, at the mistakes we’ve made. It’s important that our analysis helps set the grounds for decisions to reduce corruption in Romania. 2017 was a difficult year in the fight of corruption. The move itself to fight corruption has been strongly challenged. And questioned. (…) We ask ourselves: do we have cleaner institutions, are the efforts of justice enough to eradicate this phenomenon, or are there other measures necessary as well,” Kovesi said at the beginning of the meeting for the presentation of the DNA activity report for 2017.
The anti-graft head also remarked that certain public procurement sectors are riddled with corruption as a generalized phenomenon.
President Iohannis at DNA stocktaking meeting: Witnessing vicious actions to subordinate justice. Inadmissible!
President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday that a raft of vicious actions and manipulation attempts have been unleashed lately to dent the credibility of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) and subordinate justice, stressing that this is inadmissible.
“The National Anticorruption Directorate, as part of the Public Prosecution Office, and Justice as a whole, provide the necessary mechanisms to rid Romania of corruption. Unfortunately, we have lately been witnessing vicious manifestations of despair and manipulation attempts aimed at sapping DNA’s credibility, the agency’s activity, and obvious attempts to subordinate justice to politics. Inadmissible!” Iohannis told the meeting for the presentation of the DNA 2017 stocktaking report.
He argued that “after being caught red-handed by the institutions of the state, a handful of indicted persons and convicts have joined efforts towards discrediting those who investigated them.”
“As a Romanian saying goes – the lie has short legs, it walks until it’s exposed. All these concerted media actions run no chance of success. Their masterminds are living in the past, with the illusion that power means privileges and is exercised through abuse,” said Klaus Iohannis, who went on to say that democracy has consolidated in Romania.
“Justice is now independent and efficient, and the civic spirit of the Romanian society has lately courageously come forth,” the President said.
Iohannis pointed out that “in the struggle between old and new, between those who live off corruption and those who fight it, between those who have only their own future on mind and those who think of the future of this country, the winner will be modern, European Romania that acts on the basis of the values of western democracy and the rule of law.”
“Why does the syntagm ‘original democracy’ come to my mind? I think this is, to a certain extent, the source of corruption and abuse of power,” said President Iohannis.
“Anti-corruption directorate’s efficiency far from being challenged, despite tendentious assessment”
He congratulated the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) for its activity, saying that this institution operates with efficiency, being in the first line of the anti-corruption fight, contrary to a “tendentious assessment” presented “by someone” to the public opinion.
“The DNA is an institution that functions efficiently and has been for years now in the first line of the anti-corruption fight. Contrary to a tendentious and partisan evaluation presented by someone to the public opinion last week, the DNA efficiency is far from being challenged : with 107 prosecutors over 11,000 cases were solved, meaning 100+ files on average for each prosecutor,” the President said at the presentation sitting of the DNA activity report on 2017.
Klaus Iohannis stressed that in 2017 over 3,800 criminal files were solved, by 16.5 percent more than in 2016, and that almost 1,000 defendants were prosecuted. Moreover, he pointed out that based on the DNA indictments, the courts have given final decisions to 713 culprits in 2016, the share of acquittals parking at 12 percent, of which one fourth as a result of the Constitutional Court’s decision through which the abuse of office was only limited to breaking the law and not to the infringement of Gov’t Decisions or of other pieces of legislation.
President tells anti-corruption magistrates to rely on him as partner and supporter of rule of law principles
President Klaus Iohannis underlined that through its entire activity the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) has proven that the rule of law principles are not mere desiderata, and assured the magistrates that they can rely on him as a partner and supporter of the enforcement of these principles.
“Through its entire activity the DNA has proven that the principles of the rule of law are not mere desiderata, but realities that we all experience. A society that builds on such a foundation has more chances of development and prosperity. In me you have a partner and a supporter of the enforcement of these principles,” the president said at the meeting for the presentation of the DNA’s activity report for 2017.
Iohannis stressed that Romania needs to develop public policies and legislation that put more emphasis on corruption prevention measures and on the education of citizens, young people in particular, as regards the harmful effects of corruption of any kind.
President Iohannis: Farther and farther away from DNA’s Chief Prosecutor’s removal
Before DNA’s 2017 assessment meeting, the Head of State said that he is expecting a series of documents so as to make a decision in the case of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA)’s Chief Prosecutor, underscoring that “we are farther and farther away for a removal.” The Prosecutors’ Section with the CSM issued a negative opinion on Tuesday on Justice Minister Tudorel Toader’s proposal to remove from office DNA’s Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi.
“A decision today, no. I must wait for various documents, such as CSM’s motivation, but under the circumstance, it is obvious we are far from a removal from office. Farther and farther away,” the head of state stated.
PG Lazar: Corruption, a hotter than ever issue
Corruption remains a hotter than ever issue, Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar on Wednesday told the 2017 stocktaking meeting of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA).
“Corruption is by no means Romania-made, as some commentators suggest. Corruption is an international phenomenon that has prompted the joint effort of the states when they hammered out the Merida Convention, when they decided that certain deeds of the public servants – mainly dignitaries – that are harmful to society should be incriminated by law. Much to its honor, Romania is a signatory of the convention and succeeded one year before to build its anti-virus protection – the dedicated structure of the Public Prosecution Office we all know, the agency called the National Anticorruption Directorate,” Augustin Lazar said.
“2017 has been a more sensitive, a more complicated year, we could say. I would not dramatise the situation and say it has been a difficult year, as I look around in the hall and see the magistrates – public prosecutors who have reached professional maturity, who now must prove their capacity to deal with real problems. When things are smooth it is easy to navigate the quiet ocean. But when the waves roll high we can give the measure of our professionalism and of our conviction, work and fight for our values,” said the General Prosecutor of Romania.