New Romanian Anti-corruption Chief Openly Criticises his Institution

Daniel Morar, the young prosecutor who was appointed chief of the National Prosecutor’s Office (PNA) in August, is not satisfied with the way the most important anti-corruption organisation in Romania is doing its job.

“We found numerous files treating small corruption cases, which are suffocating our specialists. Meanwhile, the 40 cases of big corruption mentioned by the former management last year are only five … I have noticed a restraint at my prosecutors when public persons are to be investigated,” he said at a press conference.

Morar said he believes only 20 of the 83 prosecutors in the PNA are real professionals. He also told media he has proof of “a very serious” problem with information leaks. Criticising the secret services, he said “only 20 per cent of the information they provide is valuable. In many cases, they offered us information which has been already published in the newspapers.”

Representatives of the Romanian Intelligence Service have responded to the charges by saying Morar probably wasn’t referring to them.

Morar appears determined to reopen some of the most controversial corruption cases in recent years. He has already ordered the file involving Hildegard Puwak, European accession minister between 2000 and 2003, to be reviewed. Puwak and her husband were accused by media of diverting for personal use about 150,000 euros of funds from an EU-financed programme. However, prosecutors decided they shouldn’t be brought to trial.

In a number of corruption cases, the PNA has made decisions which some consider to be politically influenced. Among those investigated but not brought to trial are former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, former Transportation Minister Miron Mitrea, and Marian Vanghelie.

Morar said Nastase has phoned him, to ask if he plans to reopen his case. “I told him it’s not reopened, but it doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” he told reporters.

“Maybe the PNA chief shouldn’t be so kind. Maybe he should openly say the time when godfathers of all kind should forget the phone numbers of judges, prosecutors, policemen, or civil servants,” comments Laurentiu Ciocazanu, a columnist for the daily Evenimentul Zilei.

According to political analyst Cristian Parvulescu, president of the Pro Democratia Association, Morar has a tough job ahead of him. “The only chance for the National Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office to be independent would be some prosecutors’ passion for their work,” Parvulescu believes.

Morar, however, is undaunted. He has even called for his office’s scope to be expanded to include parliamentarians, whose cases presently are handled by the General Prosecutor’s Office.

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