A study conducted Europewide shows that 68 percent of Romanians perceive corruption as a phenomenon that affects their daily lives, Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi told a debate on Tuesday on corruption in Romania’s public healthcare system.
“This is a Eurobarometer report on corruption, published in October 2017. In this report, 68 percent of Romanian respondents perceive corruption as one of the phenomena that affect their daily lives. The 68-percent mark ranks Romania first among the European Union countries in terms of the perception of corruption in daily life. At EU level, those who consider that everyday life is affected by corruption is only 25 percent,” Kovesi said.
She added, quoting the same study, that in the case of Romania the health system was mentioned by 58 percent of the respondents as the most affected by corruption, as against only 31 percent elsewhere in the European Union.
“Corruption in the public health system translates into costs borne by patients directly because they are covered from their own pockets, or indirectly because they are affected and the social security budget is damaged. We have often found in our investigations that the extra cost that private-owned firms pay as a bribe is reflected in the quality and cost of services that citizens receive,” said Kovesi.
She stated that there were five corruption areas identified in the Romanian public healthcare system, namely the public procurement field, medical services, budgeting of hospital units, staff’s access to the medical system and authorization of pharmacies.
Kovesi took part in a debate called “Corruption in the public healthcare system – Analysis of DNA cases solved by court under final and binding convictions between 2015 and 2017.” Attending the event were also Attorney General Augustin Lazar, representatives of the judiciary, as well as NGOs dealing with healthcare and the fight against corruption.
PG Lazar: We too were terrified to discover they took bribes like they were breathing
Prosecutor General of Romania, Augustin Lazar, on Tuesday stated that anybody can see the “exasperating succession” of bribery crimes, with investigators too having been terrified to discover that people took bribes like “they were breathing.”
“We can notice the exasperating succession of bribery crimes. We too were terrified to discover that, in relation to this or that file, people took bribes, millions or tens of millions, like they were breathing. But how did they do it? Not just anyhow, but of a systematic manner, which says something,” stated Lazar, during a debate called “Corruption in the public healthcare system – analysis of the DNA cases solved in court, through final conviction orders, over 2015-2017.”
He said that this is a very relevant and interesting research, not just for the prosecutors, but also for the society, for during this process of implementation of the National Anti-corruption Strategy, there must also appear the results of the law enforcement bodies’ actions.
“We must see in the mirror this important domain of our society, which is the public healthcare system. (…) We must see what it shows us, what we can see right there in the mirror, to say so. Basically, we should see the composite sketch of the individuals who commit such acts and we should see the cultural matrix that is passed – as it seems – from generation to generation. I do not feel at ease when I say this, for I have always said: corruption is not a phenomenon, and no other crime is, specific only to Romania,” Lazar said.
He underscored that Romania did not contribute anything new when it comes to crimes.