Romania’s Constitutional Court (CCR) today sustained an objection made by Senate Leader Calin Popescu Tariceanu, who had argued that the country’s anti-corruption agency (the DNA) had overstepped its remit by investigating the issuance of controversial government ordinance (OUG) 13.
‘The DNA’s investigation disrupted the process of government,’ declared CCR chief judge Valer Dorneanu (a former PSD member of parliament) this afternoon, ignoring the fact that if ‘the process of government’ includes illegalities, then it should be disrupted.
While we need to wait for the court’s full ruling to be published (which usually takes at least a week or two) before knowing exactly what the consequences will be, it is likely that today’s decision will see the DNA have its wings seriously clipped. In effect, the CCR has ruled that the DNA can no longer investigate government wrongdoing, in practice giving Romania’s corrupt government carte blanche to do whatever it likes.
Incredibly, the CCR’s ruling came just hours after the DNA had published the outcome of the very investigation into OUG 13 that Tariceanu was objecting to. Predictably, the DNA’s findings were shocking.
On the night that OUG 13 was issued, official documents were forged, destroyed or simply ‘misplaced’. Fierce pressure was placed on non-compliant members of the cabinet to toe the line, with then Justice Minister Florin Iordache allegedly lying to the rest of the government about having all the necessary paperwork needed to legally issue the OUG. The DNA has passed its findings on to the Attorney General’s office, which will now decide whether or not to prosecute any members of the government. It is highly likely that Iordache – at the least – will face some serious criminal charges.
In other wonderful news today, the Ministry of Finance published January’s books. Tax receipts were down by almost six per cent on January last year. VAT receipts were down more than 24 per cent on January last year. And yet the government’s budget is based on tax receipts going up; quite considerably in fact.
Forget Greece, forget Belarus: at this rate Romania will resemble Venezuela well before summer. It is now surely time for some kind of intervention. The SRI perhaps? (Or have they also gone over to the dark side?) One way or another this government needs to be removed, pronto. All power to the DNA!