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Brussels, April 14 /Agerpres/ - Head of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi on Tuesday told a debate organized by the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) that there have been repeated attempts to limit the efficiency of DNA investigations, but most have been cut short thanks to the reactions of the civil society and of Romania's external partners, European institutions in the first place.

She said that most of these attempts failed, and publicly expressed stances of the European Commission, the European Parliament or representatives of Western embassies in Bucharest had a key contribution to such proposals being stuck off the agenda, giving the Romanian civil society confidence to firmly react to such attempts.

"In 2014 the number of persons indicted by DNA was triple compared to 2006. The number of persons convicted in 2014 by courts of law in cases built by DNA was 7 times higher. From 2007 up until now, DNA ordered the indictment of 48 officials: one former Prime Minister (indicted in three separate cases), one deputy Prime Minister, eight ministers, 29 deputies and seven Senators. Of these, one former Prime Minister, six ministers, 15 deputies and five Senators were handed down final sentences for crimes of corruption, while the rest of the cases are pending," said Kovesi.

She added that a clear sign of DNA's independence and efficiency is that in 2014 alone, the anticorruption authority asked the approval of the Romanian Parliament for the arrest of 9 MPs and moved to request the approval to prosecute 12 ministers and ex-ministers, one of these requests being referred to the European Parliament, this being the highest number of senior officials investigated in one year.

In Kovesi's opinion, the quality of the act of justice depends on the integrity of the people who enforce the law, therefore combating corruption in the judiciary has been one of DNA's priorities, but also one of the goals of the monitoring by the European Commission.

"From 2007 to the present, 110 magistrates were sent to court, of which 56 have already been convicted, while the rest of the cases are pending settlement. We must not forget that for criminal law to achieve its purpose, it is important that the person convicted of corruption does not keep the ill-gotten wealth. The final court decisions in DNA-built cases in 2014 included the confiscation and recovery of proceeds of crime worth over 310 million euro. The enforcement of the decisions for this amount could allow the doubling of the wages of Romania's doctors," said Kovesi.

She reminded that, according to a recent sociological survey, DNA is the judiciary institution that enjoys the highest confidence among the population. Kovesi said that in the EU Anti-corruption Report published in February 2014, the DNA is presented as one of the five best practice examples in the EU.

Kovesi also said that punishing corrupt public servants is not enough to eradicate the phenomenon, but the risks and vulnerabilities that lead to the perpetration of corruption acts also need to be identified and removed.AGERPRES

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