Romanian President Traian Basescu announced on Tuesday he accepted a request by the National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) to open an inquiry on the names of ex-IT&C minister Zsolt Nagy and current Justice minister Tudor Chiuariu. The head of state called a special commission to convene as procedures demand when charges are issued against members of the Goverment.
The commission will discuss the case of the two on September 24, a presidential press release says.
The two are suspected of corruption and abuse in office in a case related to the Romanian postal services.
The case relates to a governmental decision issued in April, approved by Chiuariu and counter-signed by Nagy, who at the time was serving as a minister, which allowed the association between the Romanian Mail and a private company to push for investments in a real estate property in downtown Bucharest.
Chiuariu said on Tuesday it was too early to consider resignation following the DNA request for an investigation on his name. He said the move was caused by the „panic” among DNA prosecutors and that their „abuse” will become public.
He said he believed the file was dealt with by a section of the anti-graft body run by Doru Tulus, a prosecutor whose dismissal Chiuariu requested from his very first days in office this spring.
EC Vice-president Franco Frattini’s spokesperson Friso Roscam-Abbing told HotNews.ro that Chiuariu informed Frattini about his situation at a Home and Justice Affairs Council in Brussels on Tuesday. Abbing said he would not comment on „internal matters”.
The news come as Chiuariu filed a criminal complaint against DNA prosecutors Doru Tulus and Aristotel Popa for abuse in office on Monday. The Justice Ministry also confirmed for NewsIn that Chiuariu has also requested the Superior Council of Magistracy to expel them.
Should President Basescu approve of a criminal investigation, Chiuariu may be suspended from office pending the inquiry.
Update: What the deal was all about
The terrain in downtown Bucharest was a subject for influence trafficking for at least five years.
Several “groups of influence”, as the word goes in Romania, including heavyweight businessmen like Alexandru Bittner (the right hand of former PM Adrian Nastase, also involved in the “Millionaire auntie” scandal, where Nastase “inherited” one million euros) and Fahti Taher (owner of the Marriott hotel in Bucharest) tried to put their hands on that piece of land.
It took five years for Sorin Creteanu to win the terrain, but all the official seals seem to be far from guaranteeing the legality of the transaction.
The Postal Service partnership with Creteanu’s company is currently under investigation, given the fact that the terrain was public property, so it could no be involved in such partnerships. Even more, the terrain was evaluated at 5 million euros, while its market price would be in fact some tens of millions.
The initiative for the ordinance that sealed the partnership came from the IT&C minister, Zsolt Nagy. Nagy’s documents were countersigned by the Justice Minister, Tudor Chiuariu.
The partnership project got a negative assent from the Approval Department in the Justice Ministry, where head of the department was Alina Vrabie.
According to information published by the Romanian press, Justice Minister Chiuariu demanded Vrabie to change the assent, from a negative to a positive one, but Vrabie refused and resigned. The following counselor approved the deal.