Politeía Digest

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Voicu affair – the story behind the story

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The central media continued to make new revelations about Voicu’s case, the people he allegedly tried to help and how he was very close to becoming interior minister in the Social Democrat-Democrat Liberal government at the end of 2008. One transcript leaked from prosecutors, showed Voicu talking about his plan to become interior minister and gain control over anticorruption and organised crime investigators. Daily ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ reported yesterday that PSD chief strategist Viorel Hrebenciuc and Bucharest branch leader Marian Vanghelie rallied all forces and resources to make Voicu minister in 2008. Their plans however were blocked by PSD Senator Miron Mitrea, who worked hard to prevent Voicu from taking the job, the newspaper said. Voicu was reportedly nicknamed ‘The Godfather’ in the party and benefited from wide support to take over the ministry. In December 2008, when the PSD-PDL government was set up, Hrebenciuc and Vanghelie insisted that the interior ministry should go to the PSD. The party had two applicants for the job: Voicu and Gabriel Oprea. The latter won, with Mitrea’s help and support from other leading party members, such as Victor Ponta and Adrian Nastase. But Oprea gave up the post soon after and also left the PSD, setting up a group of independent lawmakers in Parliament and now taking the defence minister job in the current cabinet.

But even if the Hrebenciuc-Vanghelie group and Voicu lost the battle then, they eventually managed to seize control of the ministry by having Oprea replaced with Dan Nica, a party member close to their group, early last year, ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ said. Mitrea was reportedly marginalized in the party following his opposition to Voicu’s plan. The former transport minister is one of the party members who allegedly benefited from Voicu’s services, as his wife Manuela Mitrea was accused of having obtained her notary public licence illegally, but she won the lawsuit against the Justice Ministry and got her licence reinstated, with Voicu’s help, parts of the media said.

The new documents show the Senator telling fellow PSD member Alexandru Mazare, brother of Constanta Mayor Radu Mazare, that if he became interior minister, Vanghelie would have “peace of mind.” Moreover, transcripts show Voicu complaining that Democrat Liberal Vasile Blaga, after being named interior minister, fired “30 of my people from DGIPI (the Interior Ministry’s intelligence service).”

Meanwhile, politicians who reportedly benefited from Voicu’s services denied the allegations and any connection to the lawmaker. PSD Dolj vice president Maria Schutz, whom Voicu reportedly helped escape prosecution in a fraud case, said she never knew the lawmaker personally and only saw him a couple of times during party sessions.

Liberal Ludovic Orban, former transport minister, also said he was outraged to see his name in the transcripts. The documents show Voicu telling an interlocutor that he helped Orban avoid investigation in a hit-and-run case in 2007. Orban was quoted by Mediafax as saying that he did not ask Voicu for help and that he did not meet him on the day of the accident.

 

Romania’s Senate approved today  in plenary session anticorruption prosecutors’ request to have social democrat senator Catalin Voicu placed under preventive arrest on charges of influence peddling and fraud. 70 senators voted in favor of lifting Voicu’s immunity, 40 against.

Under Romanian law, lawmakers cannot be arrested without the approval of the parliament chamber they represent and after they are heard by the respective chamber’s committee for legal matters. Approval of prosecution requires the votes of the majority of lawmakers (69)  in the respective chamber (Senate).

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Written by Theophyle

March 24, 2010 at 4:59 pm

One Response

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  1. Minister of Internal affairs ! Hot pie !

    canadianul

    March 24, 2010 at 7:03 pm


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