New pieces of evidence show that Emergency Decree 13 was written outside the premises of the Government, in Dragnea’s office at the Chamber of Deputies. „Initiativa Romania” is in possession of hitherto unknown details from behind the scenes of the episode that sent the country into a downward spiral
“Initiativa Romania” has discovered that the two emergency decrees prepared by the former Minister of Justice, Florin Iordache, and providing the basis for Emergency Decree 13, were written outside the premises of the Government. They were written on computers registered to employees of the office of the Chamber of Deputies Chancellor, Liviu Dragnea. One of the beneficiaries of these ordinances was Dragnea himself. According to the document cited by “Romania Initative”, the two emergency decrees were written on the computers of the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Deputies Chancellery, Spiridon Anca Mihaela, and those of the Parliamentary Counselor to the General Secretariat of the Chamber of Deputies, Trufaşu Elena Isabella.
After President Klaus Iohannis’ arrival at the government meeting where he made the famous reference to the two „elephants”, the executive gave up on the two decrees, one for amending the Penal Codes and the other one for dispensing pardon. Later, however, it adopted Emergency Decree 13, which had the same content. The government eventually had to cancel Emergency Decree 13 following the largest street demonstrations since 1989.
Below are the less known details of the draft emergency decrees amending the criminal codes (January 18, 2017) and Emergency Decree 13 (January 31, 2017). These details were presented by “Initiativa Romania”, which has been in possession of the order for closing the file, following a decision of the Constitutional Court.
„On January 16, 2017, Minister Florin Iordache convenes a meeting with Cabinet Chief Corina Draşoveanu and state secretaries Gabriela Scutea, Constantin Sima, Oana Schmidt-Hăineală and Mariana Moţ. Minister Florin Iordache presents them with a 11-page document titled „Abrogation, modification, completion of CP articles, CPP, Law no. 96/2006 and Law no. 78/2000 „. The main changes proposed in the document were:
a) decriminalization of the crime of abuse of service;
b) decriminalization of neglect of service;
c) modification of the constitutive content of conflict of interests offenses;
d) modification of the constitutive content of corruption offenses: bribe giving, bribe taking, trafficking in influence and buying of influence;
e) amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code, including amendments to the denunciation and complaint procedure.
The Minister said that based on this document he would initiate two emergency decrees, one for the amendment of criminal codes and one for pardon, and explicitly specified that draft emergency ordinances should be adopted on January 18th. State Secretary Gabriela Scutea and the DEAN director opposed the move. As a result of the contradictory discussions, the full decriminalization of the abuse of service was abandoned and a threshold of 200,000 lei was proposed. Prosecutors note that the threshold proposal came either from the Minister or from State Secretary Oana Schmidt-Hainala, with no clear information in this regard.
In investigating the origin of the document, the prosecutors established that:
1. The above-mentioned document, which was the basis for the two decrees proposed for adoption on January 18th, and then the basis of Emergency Decree 13, were created on Sunday, January 15, between 10.00 and 14.00, at the chancellery of the President of the Chamber of Deputies Liviu Dragnea (the first term in his fictitious employment trial had been set for January 31);
2. The authors of the document or the computers on which the documents were drafted are Spiridon Anca Mihaela, Chief Executive Officer at the Chancellery of the President of the Chamber of Deputies, and Trufaşu Elena Isabella, Parliamentary Advisor to the General Secretariat of the Chamber of Deputies.
This document, which was drafted on January 15th, immediately entered the possession of Minister Florin Iordache, and on January 16th he began drafting emergency ordinances on January 18th and January 31st, according to the documents written in Liviu Dragnea’s chancellery.
After renunciation of the two emergency decrees which had also been the subject of the criminal complaint filed by colleagues from the Initiativa Romania, the process for the drafting and adoption of emergency Decree 13 began.on January 18th
Details regarding this procedure have been partly known since then, following the first investigations by National Anticorruption Directorate prosecutors in February 2017: a) lack of approval from the SCM or Foreign Affairs, b) initial refusal by the Ministry for Relations with the Parliament to approve Emergency Decree 13, c) tensions in the Government regarding this fact, d) eventual approval by the MRP, e) destruction of the first negative opinion of the Ministry of Justice that was sent by fax, and f) removal of the original document from within the Ministry of Justice, g) falsification of certain terms in the context of the handing-in procedure at the cabinet of the Minister of Justice, or h) drawing up other documents to justify the forgery of the registry.
Thus, the criminal prosecution of the process of drafting the three decrees and of the adoption of Emergency Decree 13 was made in terms of committing six offenses:
1. Favoring the perpetrator (Article 269 paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code);
2. Misrepresentation of inaccurate data to the Parliament or to the President of Romania on the activity of the Government or of a ministry (Article 8 paragraph 1 letter B of Law 115/1999);
3. The deed of a person who performs a managerial role in a party, in a trade union or patronage or within the framework of a legal personality without patrimonial purpose, to use his/her influence or authority for the purpose of obtaining for him/herself or for another money, goods or other undue benefits (Article 13 of Law No 78/2000);
4. Stolen or destroyed documents (Article 259, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Criminal Code);
5. Theft or destruction of evidence or documents (Article 275 of the Criminal Code);
6. Intellectual Forgery (Article 321 of the Criminal Code).
In connection with the deed provided in art. 13 of Law 78/2000 there were no clear data, as NAD prosecutors classified the file concerning this offense. All the other five offenses, however, had to be investigated further by the General Prosecutor’s Office by deploying the NAD file. On 27 February 2017, however, the Constitutional Court decided, by Decision 68, that the circumstances of the drafting or adoption of normative acts cannot be investigated by prosecutors, thus de facto de-penalizing any offenses that have been or may be committed in the future with regards to normative acts. We underline again that the criminal complaint regarding the three decrees did not concern the opportunity of adopting them but the illegalities committed in the drafting and adoption process, as confirmed by the facts discovered by the prosecutors.
Initiativa Romania considers that the October 8, 2018, as well as the January 2017 events highlight the same modus operandi, which we see in the referral for the five-judge panels, made by PM Viorica Dăncilă extremely opportunely for the defendants judged at the High Court of Cassation and Justice, shortly before the new term of trial in Mr Dragnea’s file. Using state institutions through intercessions, the President of the Chamber of Deputies has been in the motion for almost two years of institutional and legislative mechanisms that have only one purpose: to eliminate Liviu Dragnea’s criminal liability in cases where he was convicted or indicted.
Traducerea: Ruxandra Stoicescu
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