Valerian Stan
Credo ergo sum
"Şi veţi cunoaşte adevărul, iar adevărul vă va face liberi."

Romania: deep fog (II)

I sometimes wonder, if the most serious problem that the Romanian politicians have, isn’t the cynicism. As a person that, through the position I had in the Government, I could better inform regarding the almost fabulous fortune of Adrian Nastase (and also of other high dignitaries), I had the opportunity to refer to some of the profoundly illicit movements through which, the ex-prime minister became rich (nowadays, president of the Chamber of Deputies). When he wanted, Mr Nastase briefly answered, that he obtained the impressive fortune as an inheritance; his wife’s parents and aunts have been indicated as the rich and generous relatives. At the beginning of the year, when laying down the new fortune declaration, Mr Nastase announced us that he is one million dollars richer- 600 thousand cash, a land property and several paintings. Again, where from all this money? The same old answer: from his wife’s aunt. Due to the fact that the high dignitary didn’t offer more details, the journalists have made several researches and discovered that [15] the mysterious aunt has been a 97 years old lady, with a monthly retired pay of 100 EUR (very frequent in Romania), living in a modest one-room flat in a block of pensioners. Obviously, nobody believed the "explanations". The Prosecutor’s Office has announced verification, but the experience from all these years tells us to be pessimists this time too. And this thing, due to the fact that, many of the Mrs. Minister of Justice- even herself- had and still have, themselves, problems similar to the ones of the Opposition’s leader. During the last year, for example, the prime-minister has become richer, over night, with almost half million euros [16], so that, recently, the vice-prime-minister-business man George Copos, the Home Affaires’ minister, the vice-prime-minister Marko Bella, the minister of Justice or the President Basescu, to announce us that they have also, substantially, increased their fortunes [17]. Concerning Nastase’s "spectacular" self-suspension from the position of executive president of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) (but not from the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies!), I am afraid that will not mean a big thing. As along as Mr Nastase’s party is, deeply corrupted- and the whole political class, all the same.

These are the reasons why, the "fight against corruption at high level" should mean, before everything, the fight against such defiant, cold and calculated behavior, entirely unbelievable in a country aiming to integrate to the civilized world. No matter how blinded, by their rapaciousness, the politicians are, they cannot avoid seeing the deeper gulf between their fortunes, often measurable in tens millions of dollars, and the more humiliating poverty of a big part of their co-nationals. And, if they see it and still don’t care, only cynicism can explain such a thing.

I was surprised to see that, in the recent discussion about the officials’ fortunes and their declarations of fortunes, nobody talked about the missing, among other, of one of the most important objectives of the National Anti-corruption Strategy (adopted by the Government Decision no.231/2005). For almost half a year, in Romania should have been founded and should activate the National Integrity Agency - whose attribution would have been to deal with the control of the officials’ incompatibilities, declarations of fortune and interests. This thing has happened especially due to the lack of professionalism of the Ministry of Justice in elaborating the project of law based on what, the above- mentioned Agency should have been founded [18].

Wanting to gather evidence for the present lines, I have followed the last year’s collections of some central newspapers. I was especially interested in the anti-corruption measures, "at high level", that the present governance took, after coming at the governance. What have I concluded? A chronicle very wealthy in spectacular measures adopted by the General Prosecutor’s Office and by the National Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office. I reproduce a small par of this impressive chronicle: the president of Gorj County Council, Nicolae Mischie, is convoked at the Prosecutor’s Office of the County Law Court and investigated (27th of January 2005); the president of Vrancea County Council, Marian Oprisan is convoked and investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (PNA; 2nd of February); the former mayor of Bacau, Dumitru Sechelariu, investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (4th of February); the Prosecutor’s Office makes investigations concerning the houses of the president Basescu (23rd of February); the ex-minister Serban Mihailescu is going to be brought at the Prosecutor’s Office, accompanied by the police (10th of March); the ex-minister of Public Health, Ovidiu Branzan, investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (19th of March ); the liberal leader, Dinu Patriciu, official accused of businesses with dirty money, fiscal evasion, and fraud (30th of March); the ex-minister Dan Matei Aghaton, investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (12th of April); the mayor of Constanta, Radu Mazare, investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (27th of April); the ex-minister Dan Ioan Popescu, investigated by the General Prosecutor’s Office (13th of August); the ex-minister Miron Mitrea has been convoked by the National Anti-Corruption Department (the former PNA, 3rd of November). Until the last year’s autumn, the television channels made big shows around the coming and the leaving from the National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office of the investigated ones. And, as we were all expecting, this year has also passed and the" fight against corruption at high level" hasn’t brought at least one concrete result. For about one or two weeks, having the European Report from May very close, at Mrs. Macovei’s Prosecutor’s Office a new show has begun. This thing makes me suspect that the ones leading us have no sense of ridicule anymore.

In the spring of the year 2004, I registered at the National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, two notifications containing founded indices that many leaders of the Social Democratic Party, at that time at governance, have been involved in frauds of tens millions euro from PHARE funds (the ex-minister Hrebenciuc, Mihailescu, Cozmanca and the brothers Sechelariu- one of them, mayor of Bacau, the other, the State’s Secretary). As I was almost expecting, until the leaving of the Social Democratic Party from the Governance, I got no answer. But, after that, I also got no answer. Thing that, sincerely, I wasn’t expecting to.

Despite the fact that the country is grinded by "big corruption", in Romania, the problem is still the same: none of the high officials has been convicted for corruption. And how could this thing happen when the Justice itself has a lot of problems. All these things seem to already tell us that, at the end of this governance, the fight against corruption will probably be the same as in the former governances: a big joke. In a country in which- there are evaluations to what I have referred in these pages- the consequences of the corruption, after 1989, are measured in tens billions of dollars. This is the reason why, I think the May Report of the European Commission offers to the Union one of the last chances, if not the last one, of saying, straight open, to the political class from Bucharest that in Europe can integrate only the countries governed by responsible and integer persons, not by the opposites. In this moment, I am sincerely afraid that any other attitude will be an unfortunate one for everybody.

It will be, of course, unfair, not to observe the efforts that the minister of Justice has made in his area. And, despite this, after more than one year, it’s true, the first from the four of his mandate, the results are minimal. Although, she has enough legal mechanisms at her disposal, Monica Macovei did, for example, extremely few things for the reformation of the Prosecutor Offices. Due to causes that are not very clear to me, the agenda might has missed or might has been one in which the priorities have been classified in a bad way. Being given the legal prerogatives, the minister of Justice, couldn’t have resolved anything through the permanent conflict that had less horizon with the Superior Council of the Magistrature - a sort of a "strange war", seeming to especially have a price of image. In this first year of her mandate, the minister of Justice has missed an important component of the juridical system reform- the reform of the Prosecutor Offices. I think nobody doubt the fact that, concerning this chapter, would have been enough things to do, including regarding the public prosecutors’ professionalism, their "resistance" to corruption and to the political influences (the situation inherited form the Social Democratic Party still remained deplorable). Could Mrs. Macovei have had, in this first step of juridical reform, a greater ally than the constitutional norm that settles that "the public prosecutors perform their activity under the authority of the minister of Justice"? And, however, in the year that has passed since the public prosecutors "perform their activity under the authority" of Mrs. Macovei, in order to give only this example, none of the files of "corruption at high level" hasn’t been sent in front of the courts of law (in exchange, have been closed both files belonging to the president Basescu - "the Navy" and the one concerning the house he sold to himself when he was the mayor of Bucharest).

Unquestionable that, the matter of CSM and of the judges’ activity was and still is essential. The problem is only that Mrs. Macovei could have also settled here objectives according to what the Constitution allows and that should not distract her from her usual obligations. At the end of the last year the minister of Justice gave bonuses to the judges. This thing seems arguable to me, due to the fact that the Government is not the body entitled to decide which of the judges deserves rewards and which doesn’t, but the CSM, as an authority with exclusive competences in the matter of the judges "professional careers". In order to give only this example, of confusion and of a "mixture" of plans, the minister of Justice shouldn’t have dealt with the evaluation and the rewarding of judges, but with the un-satisfying activity of the general prosecutor Ilie Botos and with his cancellation- a decision that everybody expected at the same time with the leaving from Governance of the Social Democratic Party. Finally, in order not to continue anymore, the two changes of the laws of justice, that Mrs. Macovei has initiated during half a year [19], seem to me that, related to the "costs" and to an agenda that should have been extremely "limited", haven’t brought anything else but some insignificant gains (I remind that in The Country Report on 2004 including the EU appreciated the quality of the above-mentioned laws, insisting on the urgency of their implementation). 

PS I have just finished the present lines and I was preparing to send them to the editorial office, when in the press form Bucharest, a new bomb has exploded: a group of interests around president Basescu and his party receives contracts of tens million euros from the Bucharest’s mayoralty [20]. If the sickness of something would kill, then dozens of Romanians would be dead. (New York Magazin, January 25, 2006)

[15] The newspaper Cotidianul, " The Millionaire aunt, hidden in an one-room flat", 9th of January, 2006
[16] The newspaper  Jurnalul National, "Tariceanu: 400.000 euros added to his fortune in only four months", 7th May 2005
[17] The Newspaper Gandul, "Copos - over night, richer with almost 24 millions euro", 30th of December 2005; Cotidianul, "Basescu and Nastase , enriched by relatives", 6th of January 2006; the newspaper Gardianul, "If my mother would have made me a dignitary" /(Mum, make me dignitary)/Blaga: has enriched with more than ten billion ROL; Macovei: during 2005 has bought the third land property, near Vama Veche; Marko: has bought a new car and has 400.000 euro in bank accounts", 6th January 2006; the newspaper Gandul, "The Home Affaires Minister Blaga has sold his shares to a business man that has been arrested for businesses with dirty money and for evasion", 16th of January 2006
[18] The newspaper Evenimentul zilei "The Macovei Law, disputed by the non-governmental organizations", 17th of August, 1995
[19] June 2005 (The Project that became Law no. 247/2005) December 2005 (Project for changing the Laws no 303/2004, 304/2004 and 317/2004, published on 7th of December 2004, on the Ministry’ of Justice Internet page
[20] The newspaper Bursa, "Ten millions euros contracts for the ones close to Basescu", 18th of January 2006

Romania: deep fog (II), articol publicat in anul 2006