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  Nr. 4137 de luni, 21 ianuarie 2008 
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Liberal Teodor Melescanu, right now Romania's interim minister of justice, may join the 8 ministers prosecutors intend to investigate. The President of Romania Traian Basescu claimed yesterday that minister Melescanu's decision to send back the documentation grounding the criminal inquiry against the ministers was actually abuse at work. And the head of state advised the interim minister to take up a legal conduct. Traian Basescu's masked threat against minister Melescanu was overtly expressed by the PD-L (Democrat-Liberal Party), who demanded criminal inquiry against the minister and also the suspension of the latter.

President Basescu accused the government of deliberate attempt to prevent the start of criminal investigations, a process that had opened once with the release of the emergency ordinance on the modification of the ministerial responsibility law, which the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional. The President replied to minister Melescanu that he had no means to sent to the Ministry of Justice a case handled by a prosecutor: "Legally speaking, the President hasn't got access to the case a prosecutor is in charge of." He added that "case" meant only the record drawn by Presidency Administration, but not the one handled by the prosecutor in charge of it.

The documentation sent by Presidency includes the solicitation written by the prosecutor handling the case, the one authored by the head of the National Anti-Corruption Department, as well as some elements in the case that had reached the special Cotroceni Commission before the Court decided to dismember the latter commission. According to President Basescu, after the Commission was dismembered no other document in the case reached Cotroceni Palace and therefore the interim justice minister's refusal was ungrounded. "Mr. Melescanu is about to become a minister committing abuse at work. (...) I am publicly warning him to obey the law", the President mentioned. He reproached the government for using the methods the former Social-Democrat government would use: "Unfortunately, cheat and protection of ministers against Justice are elements connecting the government to the Social-Democrat Party, obviously and undeniably."

PD-L asks for start of criminal inquiry

The President's warning followed a few hours after Emil Boc, a president of the PD-L, together with Elena Udrea, held a press conference asking the President to demand criminal inquiry against the interim minister of justice, whom they accused of abuse at work and destruction of official documents. They also demanded that minister Melescanu be suspended, providing the juridical arguments for it. According to decision no. 1133 by the Constitutional Court, the Constitution grants the President and the Parliament Chambers with the right to ask for criminal inquiry against government members for crimes committed while ministers. The political responsibility for it belongs to the same institutions.

The PD-l leader accused that minister Melescanu was deliberately causing confusion: "The criminal record on a minister, which calls for the start of criminal inquiry and which is in the hands of the prosecutor in charge of the case, is not to be mistaken for the brief including the documents grounding the solicitation for the start of criminal investigations."

Apart from the attempt to delay criminal investigations, Emil Boc is suspecting the interim minister of pursuing to see the contents of the records so that the Liberals at stake would manage to organize their defense. The PD-L leader also argued that to send the criminal cases to the Ministry of Justice would be severe obstacle in the judiciary process, since there were included information about under cover investigators and testimonies by witnesses.

Adrian ILIE
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