Top figures involved in graft and abuse cases over the past several years may go in peace as their criminal files are being returned to prosecutors who have to restart investigations all over again.
Several files involving ex-prime minister Adrian Nastase, businessman Dinu Patriciu of Rompetrol fame and businessman George Copos have been returned or are about to be returned to investigators who will have to build their cases from scrap as what they’ve done so far was found to have breached legal procedures in one way or another. That, according to sources from the judiciary, may last forever.
On one hand, it is almost impossible for the cases to be fully rebuilt in less than half a year as the so-called Zambaccian file, where ex-PM Nastase is accused of graft, or the criminal networking and abuse case related to Romanian oil company Rompetrol and its boss Dinu Patriciu count dozens of volumes of evidence which have to be remade.
On the other hand, relaunching criminal inquiries in these cases mean hearing witnesses that can change their initial statements, which in turn may lead to changes in the criminal pursuit - a process that can also last for many months. And that - unless some of the evidence is lost for good, preventing cases from reaching court ever again, the judiciary sources say.
Romania’s Prosecutor General Laura Kovesi said on Wednesday it would warn the Supreme Council of Magistracy about the wave of restitution of cases over the past several days. She told news television Realitatea TV that it would call for an analysis of the reasons behind the phenomenon.
This comes as prosecutors are accusing judges of ill intentions, while judges claim the cases were sent back because prosecutors were not prepared enough to tackle such major cases.
According to Kovesi, the situation contributes significantly to the feel of distrust in the judicial system in Romania.