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Anti-corruption chief Kovesi denies plagiarism accusations

A new scandal related to the PhD plagiarism heaves in sight, after MP Sebastian Ghita on Tuesday filed a self-denunciation claiming that he took part with several Romanian dignitaries in forging the expertize technical report of anti-corruption chief Codruta Kovesi’s PhD thesis.

In retort, the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) chief prosecutor says that the PhD thesis completely belongs to her and that she hasn’t plagiarized.

Referring to the PhD thesis <Combating organized crime by criminal law directives>, I mention that the dissertaion fully belongs to me and that I haven’t plagiarized. As a matter of fact, I said this in 2012 as well when the first calumnious allegations of this kind were presented in public. The calumnious allegations made by people investigated by the DNA, which posted an unprecedented vehemence this year, were found in the complaints filed to the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM), which determined that they reflect on the magistrates’ prestige and credibility,” Laura Codruta Kovesi told a press release posted on the DNA website.

The DNA chief prosecutor reminds that the institution she is running notified this year both the Prosecutor’s Office upon the Supreme Court and the CSM regarding Sebastian Ghita’s previous stances when he made allegations on the prosecutors’ criminal investigations.

MP Sebastian Ghita claims that the DNA head knew all about the rigging. “I decided to come to the Prosecutor’s Office and to do this thing (…) to file a self denunciation regarding the way that I and other Romanian officials took part in rigging the expertize technical report of Laura Codruta Kovesi’s PhD thesis,” Ghita said while entering the Prosecutor’s Office.

When her PhD thesis plagiarism was at issue, at that time in order to protect her, for all of us thought she was doing Romania good, we decided to change, to forge the report based on which the ministry’s council decided that her PhD thesis is not plagiarized. Several dignitaries of the Romanian state, me included. She (Kovesi- editor note) was aware of what we were doing (…) That committee didn’t do anything and that report said that Kovesi’s thesis is no plagiarism, but I can say that committee has been never convened, while the report has been written in the Government,” Ghita added.

Former premier Victor Ponta refused to comment Ghita’s move, only saying that if he is summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office he will say all that he knows on this topic.

President Klaus Iohannis was also asked to comment on the charges. He says he finds the self denunciation as “odd” and that those in charge of these matters should do their job.

Iohannis added that if the topic gets under the President’s authority, he will discuss the matter with the people involved. Regarding Kovesi’s potential resignation, the head of state opined that for now it seems just a media scandal. “If it is more, we’ll discuss more,” he concluded.

Yet, questioned why the denunciation comes at this moment, Iohannis answered: “I can reply to that directly. Because of the electoral campaign (…) There are other people paid by the Romanian state to probe into that. When we have a conclusion we will be able to comment it. Before that it’s just talk.”

On the other hand, former president Traian Basescu, stated that he knew about the forging, pointing that Sebastian Ghita, Mihnea Costoiu (ex-Education minister) were involved in this, “with the knowledge of Victor Ponta, the prime minister of that time”.

Basescu even said that Laura Codruta Kovesi threatened an official of the Romanian state that he would be arrested if checks on her PhD thesis were resumed.

Kovesi’s PhD thesis tutor: No plagiarism

The National Ethical Council ruled in 2012 that Laura Codruta Kovesi had not plagiarized her PhD dissertation.

The tutor of her PhD thesis, Viorel Pasca, professor at the Law University says that plagiarism charges are not grounded on real facts. “The articles pointed as the source of plagiarism were signed by Mrs. Kovesi but with her maiden name, Lascu. Those who read the PhD thesis, influenced by the fact that the excerpts are signed with Lascu name in some articles, said: <Kovesi plagiarized Lascu>. Only that Laura Lascu was Laura Codruta Kovesi, who had got married in the meantime,” professor Pasca explained.

About Alina Grigoras Butu