The National Anti-Corruption Directorate is trying to shed light on the Microsoft affair, the largest-scale corruption investigation in Romania of late.
The investigation of the Microsoft affair, which involves as many as 9 ex-ministers from various parties and successive governments, as well as powerful Romanian businessmen, is only at the beginning. In a country where the national minimum wage is less than 200 euros, they are suspected of having taken millions of euros in commissions from companies that sold Microsoft IT licenses.
The National Anti-Corruption Directorate asked the Presidency, the Parliament of Romania and the European Parliament to lift the immunity of the suspects, so that they may be prosecuted for influence peddling, bribery, money laundering and abuse of office. The heads of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate have already instructed the judicial committees to draw up the required reports.
The investigation concerns a contract for the procurement by the Romanian Government of Microsoft licenses from Fujitsu Siemens Corporation, which was reportedly favoured. The witnesses quoted in a report sent by prosecutors to Parliament detail the routes of the tens of millions of euros in commissions transferred to various Cabinet members between 2001 and 2012, and to some businessmen who brokered the transaction. One of these is the ex-husband of presidential candidate Elena Udrea. She declined to comment on the affair, and urged the media to talk to her ex-husband directly.
The incumbent Social Democrat Prime Minister Victor Ponta, himself a presidential candidate, has also seen his name mentioned in this case. According to witnesses, in 2004, when he was the head of the Government Inspection Service, Ponta was asked to support the award of an IT license contract by the Education Ministry to Fujitsu Siemens Corporation. The PM denied involvement in the affair, and said he was ready to answer any questions the prosecutors might have.
The National Anti-Corruption Directorate explained that PM Ponta is not a suspect or defendant in this case. Even so, the Liberals, currently in opposition, see the head of the government as a key player in this huge scandal, and have urged him to withdraw from the presidential election race. On the other hand, the Social Democratic Party speaks about disinformation and lies used for electoral purposes. Meanwhile, the National Anti-Corruption Directorate carries on its probe into what proves to be the most resounding corruption case in recent years.