Romania, DNA head Kovesi: Corruption will not be solved only by arresting defendants, or indicting public servants

The chief prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA), Laura Codruta Kovesi has told a debate on public procurement corruption on Wednesday that “the corruption issue will not be solved only by arresting defendants and obtaining convictions, but if the prosecutors’ effort is dubbed by prevention actions”.


Kovesi pointed out that, although the crimes’ approach starts from prevention to countering, prosecutors had revised the order in the investigations on the abuse of office for they discovered there were repetitive typologies in the abuse of office phenomenon.

During the “Fraud and corruption in public procurement. From countering to prevention” event, also attended by Romania’s Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar, the DNA chief prosecutor has presented a case study conducted by DNA on several deeds of abuse of office committed by the local authorities in the public procurement field.

“We considered that drafting this study could be an useful tool for the other institutions. We insisted on prevention. We won’t solve the corruption issue in Romania only by arresting defendants, only by indicting public servants or obtaining convictions. Corruption in Romania can be solved if the prosecutors’ investigation effort is dubbed by prevention actions and by a serious anti-corruption education,” Kovesi stated.

The study has been conducted based on 20 cases investigated by the DNA and three criteria: the main defendant should have committed at least a deed of abuse of office, the main defendant should have held a public position in a local authority and provided that the court ruled a final sentence to prison for the committed crimes, with the reference period being 2016-2017.

The DNA head also said that the study’s main conclusions are that the life quality of certain local communities has been blocked by scamming public procurement, besides it has led to huge budget prejudices. “In many cases we talk about the lack of efficiency in the verification and control mechanisms,” Kovesi concluded.

Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar: Confidence in the judiciary must be a priority. The E-FIT of the abuse of office offender

In his turn, Romania’s Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar said that preserving confidence in the Romanian judiciary must be a priority for those working in the system. “It’s very important to succeed in maintaining the confidence in a judiciary worthy of Romania, a judiciary of a European country, with undiscredited institutions and with a true equality before the law,” Lazar said.

The Prosecutor General underlined that any action to amend the criminal laws should be based on impact studies.

“Now, as there is a high interest if the incriminating text of the deeds is well set in the case of certain crimes, such as the abuse of office, we frequently say that we must have impact studies to understand what it’s happening and if the incrimination provisions should be amended or not,” Lazar said, while stressing that the abuse of office usually appears next to other crimes committed by the public servants.

“The abuse of office crimes don’t appear as isolated, but (…) usually alongside others such as the conflict of interest, forgery, fraud,” he said.

Lazar also made a E-FIT of the abuse of office offender, saying it’s similar with the conflict of interest offender.

In his view, the first E-FIT relates to the public servant, who is among mayors, councilmen, directors, head of services. Lazar said these persons usually have an abusive conduct in order to solve their own interests by breaking the minimum deontology of the public servant.

The Prosecutor General added the second E-FIT is more “sophisticated”, as it involves the “author behind the authors”, who is practically using another public servant to achieve his goal. This “straw man” is either a member of the family, a friend or a party member, anyway “someone who can be sacrificed”.

EUR 148 M, cannot be recovered following CCR ruling on abuse of office

DNA reported that anti-corruption prosecutor had to close down all cases of abuse of office last year following the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the abuse of office and thus a prejudice of EUR 148 million that could be recovered from these files has been lost.

In 2016, the Constitutional Court of Romania has ruled that prosecutors can investigate only those deeds of abuse of office where the primary laws have been broken, meaning a law or an emergency ordinance. Or, all the DNA cases (275 more precisely) were based on breaches of secondary legislation.

For instance, prosecutor cannot investigate anymore privatizations carried out based on government resolutions.

8 February 2018

Romania Journal

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