Ever since December 1989 Teodor Atanasiu has been the only Romanian minister to make a case for the committee Presidency set on this purpose. The law on ministerial responsibility while under mandate is now at stake. This is because two officials, presidency adviser Adriana Saftoiu and Social-Democrat deputy Eugen Bejinariu, wrote criminal complaints against minister Atanasiu, invoking abuse at work.
During Ion Iliescu's last mandate as President of Romania, in 2000-2004, several politicians were questioned in Cotroceni Palace: Democrat Traian Basescu, Christian-Democrat Ioan Avram Muresan and other ex transport ministers involved in the famous "Fleet" case (Traian Novolan and Aurel Novac). Ion Iliescu decided criminal investigations against all these ex ministers. President Traian Basescu is now in a tough situation as he himself was questioned endless hours in the "Fleet" case while Iliescu was ruling and even if the shoes he was in at that time and the shoes minister Atanasiu is in now are completely different. On grounds of the report to be drawn by the special committee, Basescu is now to decide either to open criminal inquiry against the Liberal defense minister or to muffle the case. The Liberals suggest it may be the President's political revenge. The Democrats and Conservatives insinuate that resignation would settle things, whereas the Democrat Union of Magyars in Romania has expressed no opinion.
The Cotroceni special committee is to have a meeting early next week and also look into the involvement of the information services in the Ministry of Defense in political police activities. Such action has taken place under Atanasiu's mandate and with help from Vasile Paun, executive of the General Information Department in the Ministry of Defense, who was provided with official position by the present defense minister. (A.H.)
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