The Chief of the Border Police, Victor Ștefan Ivașcu, was dismissed after the mayor of Baia Mare, Cătălin Cherecheș, fled the country on Friday through the Petea Border Crossing using the documents of a relative. The head of the Maramureș County Police and the leadership of the Police Academy were also replaced.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs announced on Sunday evening that Inspector General of the Border Police Victor Ștefan Ivașcu has been relieved of his duties. Additionally, the Maramureș County Police Inspectorate will no longer be led by the designated officer, and the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police (IGPR) will conduct an inspection at this institution.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has also decided to replace the leadership of the Special Operations Brigade in Cluj by appointing another officer as the head of the brigade. Furthermore, the leadership of the County Protection Service (Internal Protection General Directorate) in Maramureș will be replaced by appointing another officer as the head of the service. The Ministry has also appointed Brigadier General Liviu Uzlău as the acting commander (rector) of the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” Police Academy. The Minister’s Control Body will conduct an inspection at the Sighetul Marmației Territorial Inspectorate of the Border Police, including at the Petea Border Crossing Point, where the convicted mayor of Baia Mare, Cătălin Cherecheș, managed to flee the country, despite being wanted and law enforcement officers being notified.
Thus, six heads from the Border Police, Romanian Police, and DIPI (the secret service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs) are leaving their positions following the scandals related to corruption in customs and the escape of the convicted mayor Cătălin Cherecheș. Additionally, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has decided on three inspections: at the Border Police, at the Maramureș County Police Inspectorate, and at a department within the IGPR responsible for the supervision of those under judicial control and the enforcement of sentencing decisions. All of this is accompanied by the dismissal of the head of the Police Academy, following a series of problems that culminated in the forced transition of courses to online.
Inspector General of the Border Police, Victor Ștefan Ivașcu, stated on Saturday that the mayor of Baia Mare, who left the country through the Petea Border Crossing on Friday at 7:49 a.m., used a different identity when crossing the border into Hungary, and the border officer who verified Cherecheș is being investigated by a disciplinary committee.
“We are analyzing how the officer on duty checked Cherecheș’ identity, who presented a relative’s document. An investigation has been initiated into the border police officer. There are physical resemblances between Cherecheș and the relative. The document presented during the check was genuine. It was verified through the border equipment,” said Victor Ștefan Ivașcu on Saturday morning.
“I confess with the utmost sincerity that even the border police officer cannot fathom how this actually happened. At this moment, he believes that such a thing could not have happened, considering that Cherecheș is a notorious person, highly publicized recently. He says he would have recognized him, but there are aspects that we will treat with the utmost seriousness in the disciplinary investigation we are conducting,” added the Chief of the Border Police.
He mentioned that the police officer who conducted the check has “very good experience, 21 years of experience, according to the information I have from my colleague in Sighet, with many detections, many achievements, without such incidents until now.”
Mayor of Baia Mare, Cătălin Cherecheș, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for bribe taking, in a final ruling pronounced on Friday. He was immediately put out on APB after policemen had not found him.