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News 16 May 13

Romania Names Anti-Corruption Chiefs

Romania has appointed six chief prosecutors and deputies to lead the country’s anti-corruption bodies.

Marian Chiriac
Bucharest

Tiberiu Nitu, the new chief prosecutor, and Laura Codruta Kovesi, head of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, DNA, were sworn in on Thursday.
 
Joining them are the new deputy chief prosecutors Bogdan Licu and Codrut Olaru. Alina Bica was named chief prosecutor at the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism, DIICOT, and Elena Hosu will be her deputy.
 
Analysts say the appointments were the result of a compromise between President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Victor Ponta. Backed by their respective political camps, Basescu and Ponta have been locked in a bitter power struggle since the beginning of last year which culminated in a referendum on the impeachment of the president.
 
In January, Basescu turned down the Justice Minister's candidates for the posts of chief prosecutor and head of the DNA saying "the selection procedure wasn’t sufficiently open to encourage more qualified prosecutors to be interested in the posts”. Among those rejected was Tiberiu Nitu.
 
“The appointments are the result of a political compromise. Furthermore, they were made by defying the EU, which had called for a transparent application process and not for political appointments,” said journalist Ioana Radulescu.
 
The appointment of new anti-graft heads is seen as an important test of whether the government is serious about clamping down on corruption.

Romania is still considered one of the most corrupt states in the European Union and has made only limited progress in fighting graft and organised crime since it joined the EU in 2007.

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