Romania's Anti-Graft Agency Sends to Court Record Number of Cases in 2015Southeast Europe | February 25, 2016, Thursday // 18:25| views
Romania's National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) has sent to court 1,250 high-level cases last year, which is the highest number investigated in a year since the founding of the agency, DNA chief prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi has said.
The high-level public officials prosecuted in 2015 on charges of graft included a former prime minister, five former ministers, 16 members of the lower house of parliament and five senators, Kovesi told a news conference in Bucharest on Thursday, presenting the annual activity report of the DNA, according to business-review.eu
“We have seized assets worth close to half a billion euros. These are the most impressive figures since the founding of the DNA”, she said.
Kovesi, appointed in 2013, also said that courts ordered EUR 200 M to be returned to the state last year.
The 135 prosecutors in DNA would focus on corruption in the justice system, corruption in local governments, corruption in public acquisitions and health care, and fraud in European Union funds, combined with efforts to recuperate losses to the state, Kovesi has said, according to the AP.
Although DNA’s results were the best in the agency’s history, they also showed that corruption remained one of Romania’s big vulnerabilities, Kovesi said.
“These results force us to launch a discussion about the much-needed state reform on preventing and fighting corruption. There are sectors in the area of public acquisitions where corruption is generalized. Many times, contract assignment and the related payments are conditioned by receiving money disguised in fraudulent agreements or fictitious contracts,” she said, according to Romania-insider.com.
Romania’s efforts to crack down on high-level corruption haven’t gone unnoticed by the EU, which has been monitoring the country's progress in judicial reform and the fight against corruption under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) since 2007, when Romania joined the bloc.
“Over the last year, Romania and Romanians have shown their willingness to fight corruption and to protect the independence of the judiciary. The mass demonstrations against corruption have shown how these issues matter to Romanian citizens,” European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said last month, when thelatest CVM report was released.
In the report, the European Commission said that Romania had made further progress in fighting corruption and judicial reform, but 2016 was a test year that would show if the recent development is sustainable.
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