News 28 Dec 12

Romanian President to Name Anti-Corruption Chiefs

President Traian Basescu is to issue his final decision on the names of the new heads of the main anti-corruption institutions shortly.

Marian Chiriac
Bucharest

Romania's Justice Minister, Mona Pivniceru, on Thursday sent her nominations for the posts of Chief Prosecutor and head of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, the DNA
to President Traian Basescu for approval.

Basescu is to issue a final decision on the minister's proposals shortly.

Tiberiu Nitu, 41, a former first-deputy prosecutor general until late last year, was nominated as Chief Prosecutor. Ioan Irimie, 58, is to be the new head of the DNA.

Last month, the Superior Council of Magistrates, CSM, rejected the ministerial nominations but its ruling is only advisory.

The CSM is tasked with defending the professional reputation of magistrates and with protecting their independence and impartiality.

It is not clear when Basescu will announce his decision.

The nominations are widely seen as posing an important test of the government's seriousness in 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.

Romania has drawn repeated criticism from the European Commission for its failure to tackle the problem.

But in recent months, the number of officials sentenced for graft has increased significantly. Eleven top officials were sent to jail since 2010, according to DNA data, including former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase and some other ex-ministers.

Twenty-six mayors and prefects, 24 magistrates and 164 policemen have also been sent to jail, official figures show.

By comparison, no member of government or lawmaker was convicted of corruption between 2002 and 2009.

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