The Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday passed the draft setting up the National Agency for Management of Frozen Assets by 221 votes to one and nine abstentions.
Previously the Legal committee of the lower chamber revised the name of the body from the National Agency for Management of Seized Assets, as it was decided by the Government, to the National Agency of Frozen Assets.
The deputies of the Democratic Union of Magyars in Romania (UDMR) abstained from voting, arguing the current form of the bill could lead to abuses.
“Our parliamentary group abstained from voting, as we are not sure this law would be enforced. We are convinced that we have legislation which, if it had been enforced, then all those who were convicted should have paid what the court ordered them to. We have the judicial texts but, unfortunately, they are not observed. If we draft a new law we cannot get it observed. We believe this newly set up institution is not constitutional (…) The new adopted form is leading the way to abuse,” UDMR’s Marton Arpad said.
According to the draft, the Agency is run by a general manager, who has to be judge, prosecutor named by order of the Justice minister. The person to be appointed at the helm of the new agency should not be member of any political party. Yet, the deputies somehow led the way to turning the position into a political one, as they amended the initial form of the draft, which stipulated that the general manager of the agency shouldn’t have been in any political party or political alliance in the past 5 years. Now, it’s that they don’t have to be party members at the moment of their nomination.
Another person can be appointed deputy general manager. He or she has to be public servant within Finance Ministry or the National Agency for Fiscal Administration, to have economic sciences degree, to have an 8-year experience in economy and to not be member of any political party.
The agency is coordinated by a Council that will also comprise three representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office upon the High Court of Cassation and Justice, one representative from the National Anti-corruption Directorate and one from the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism, one representative from the Justice Ministry, of the Superior Council of Magistracy, of the Interior Ministry, of the Finance Ministry and of the National Agency for Fiscal Administration.
The bill stipulates that the seized goods can be granted to the local administrative bodies or can be used by associations, foundations or by the Romanian Academy.
The sums of money resulted from the seized assets’ capitalization will be allotted 20 pc to the Education Minister, 20 pc for the Health Ministry, 15 pc for the Interior Ministry, 15 pc for the Public Ministry and 15 pc for the Justice Ministry.
The draft law was vetoed by the Senate on October 13, but the Chamber of Deputies was the decision-making body in this case.