Just a few minutes after the Romanian PM asked him for one more meeting on the Norica Nicolai case, the President of Romania Traian Basescu demanded the opening of procedures for criminal inquiry against 8 former and present ministers. The action of Presidency is legal, given the Constitutional Court's decision in November 2007, according to which the President may decide by himself to agree or disagree to the opening of criminal inquiry against a former or present minister.
President Basescu's action is predictable for at least two reasons: he announced such a possibility several times and 2008 is an electoral year, therefore the public image's importance is overwhelming. In the coming days the media will be busy showing ministers reaching the National Anti-Corruption Department.
The sublime perverseness of this political move is due to the fact that the leader in Cotroceni Palace is striking PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu with the hand of Liberal Teodor Melescanu, an interim minister of justice right now, in order to settle the crisis in this institution. Had the PM not appointed an interim minister, it would have been impossible for President Basescu to ask for criminal investigations against the ministers at stake.
It is to be noticed that there is no member of the PDL (Democrat Liberal Party) on among the 8 officials now investigated. President Basescu's new action is also meant to divert attention from the 'teacher' case, since the Ludovic Orban and Norica Nicolai issue have been fading.
As for Liberal Norica Nicolai the PM wishes to take over the Ministry of Justice, it is to be mentioned that the President and PM met again yesterday, but reached no consensus. The Liberals intend to address both the Constitutional Court and the Court of Appeal against President Basescu's refusal to appoint Norica Nicolai a minister of justice.
Here are the ministers now under inquiry and the accusations:
1.Paul Pacuraru, a minister of labor - accused of having asked Ilie Morega, the leader of Liberals in the district of Gorj, to help the help his son get some contracts for his company
2.Tudor Chiuariu, a former minister of justice - accused of signing the ordinance by which a public property became private in order to facilitate the association of the Romanian Post Office with companies to sell the respective property
3.Decebal Traian Remes, a former minister of agriculture - accused of cashing a 15,000 Euro bribe from Ioan Muresan to arrange some auctions in favor of businessman Gheorghe Ciorba
4.Adrian Nastase, a former PM - accused of bribe and traffic of influence in a third criminal case, concerning the way the politician got to own the house in Zambaccian Street, Bucharest, estimated to more than 1,5 million Euro
5.Miron Mitrea, a former minister of transport - accused in relation to the funds used for building a house for his mother in Voluntari, a village close to Bucharest
6.Victor Babiuc - accused of bribe and abuse at work in a case concerning a land transaction between the Romanian Ministry of Defense and Gigi Becali
7.Zsolt Nagy, a former minister of telecommunication - accused of initiating the report grounding minister Chiuariu's consent to the ordinance on the Post Office affair; he is also under investigations by the Prosecutor's office in the strategic privatization case
8.Codrut Seres, a former minister of economy - accused in the strategic privatization case handled by the Prosecutor's Office of making a criminal group to unveil economy secrets; he is under more investigations in a different criminal case, accused of undermining national economy and supporting a criminal group. (M.T.)