The National Anti-corruption Directorate continues investigations into two major cases the Microsoft case and a recently unveiled forestland scheme.
Investigations into the Microsoft case, the most resounding corruption scandal in Romania in the last 25 years have entered a new phase. The case refers to the purchase of IT licenses for Romanian schools. According to prosecutors, a number of former ministers with several different governments unlawfully signed and extended contracts at prices increased artificially.
The National Anti-Corruption Directorate started the prosecution of nine former officials, namely the senators Serban Mihailescu and Ecaterina Andronescu, the deputy Valerian Vreme, the European Parliament member Dan Nica as well as Daniel Funeriu, Alexandru Athanasiu, Mihai Tanasescu, Gabriel Sandu and Adriana Ticau. The former chief of Romania’s Foreign Intelligence Service, Catalin Harnagea, the former communication minister Gabriel Sandu, the former presidential advisor Dorin Marian and the former tennis player Dinu Pescariu are also suspected of involvement in the case.
President Traian Basescu has recently said that more surprises and new suspects will surface in relation to the Microsoft scandal. President Basescu has dismissed rumours that the FBI provided documents in this case.
Another major case making headlines these days has to do with the illegal return of forestland and involves judges, parliament members and businessmen. Damages to the Romsilva National Forestry Authority are estimated at over 300 million euros.
Among the suspects are the Social Democrat MPs Ioan Adam, Viorel Hrebenciuc and Ilie Sarbu, as well as the illegitimate son of King Carol II of Romania, Prince Paul and his wife. Prosecutors say that in April 2012, at Ioan Adam’s request, judges with the Covasna Tribunal illegally ruled for the return of a large area of forest and farm land in the eastern county of Bacau, worth 300 million euros. Later, Ioan Adam and several other people, including Viorel Hrebenciuc, are believed to have set up a group with the purpose of making money through a speedy procurement of land title deeds, followed by a quick sale of the land.
In another development, the Romanian Parliament is debating a draft law making it easier for deputies and senators to lose their immunity and preventing delays in investigations. Some of the new provisions of the bill include shorter trial dates, limitations to Parliament’s responsibilities as far as the assessment of evidence is concerned, and the introduction of open public vote in Parliament and the Parliament’s Legal Committee.