The founder chairman of UNPR, Gabriel Oprea, former Interior minister and deputy prime minister in Ponta Cabinet, announced on Friday he would quit the party and that he would be independent senator until the end of this year and after that he would step aside politics.
“(…) While both governing or in the opposition, I did what was best for Romania and not for me or the party. UNPR endorsed various governments without negotiating advantages and privileges. The only conditions laid down on out partners referred to the protection of the Romanian citizens’ rights and particularly of the military staff (…) To reject all unreal scenarios rumored related to my political activity, I inform you that my way will go separately from UNPR and I’ll become independent senator. At the end of my term as an MP, I’ll leave politics,” Gabriel Oprea posted on Facebook.
He said that his colleagues from UNPR would always find a friend in him and that he would always endorse the national security projects and would support Romania’s president in this field. “I wish them good luck, regardless of the path they choose to follow (…) I thank you all and may the success be on the side of those who deserve it,” Oprea ends his message.
Oprea’s name came up amid alleged negotiations between UNPR and PNL for a potential merger. Liberal sources told local news agencies that one of the conditions for the merger is that Gabriel Oprea should be put out of business, as he didn’t comply with the Liberal Party’s integrity standards.
On the other hand, the chairman of the Social Democrat Party, the former partner of UNPR, slammed the Progressive Union’s intention to team up with the Liberals, stating that he finds extremely serious that President Iohannis had met leaders of UNPR, among whom there was also Gabriel Oprea, to talk about the merger with the Liberal Party.
Former Interior minister Gabriel Oprea resigned from the position of UNPR chairman in early March, while in May he has been indicted by the anti-corruption prosecutors on Wednesday in the case related to the purchase of a car from the budget of the Department for Intelligence and Internal Protection (DIPI).
Prosecutors claim that on July 13, 2015, Gabriel Oprea, as Interior minister, with the help of the former head of the Department for Intelligence and Internal Protection (DGIPI), senior Police quaestor Nicolae Gheorghe and Pavel Gabriel-Nicolae, head of the Legal department, ordered to supplement DIPI’s budget with RON 410,000 and approved the purchase of an Audi A8 vehicle “with the alleged purpose to ensure the dignitaries’ protection.”
Anti-corruption prosecutors announced he had seized several buildings and plots of land in Bucharest, Ilfov and Giurgiu, belonging to Gabriel Oprea, Nicolae Gheorghe and Gabriel-Nicolae Pavel, all covering the damage of RON 410,000.
However, the anti-corruption prosecutors say that during August-October 2015, ex-Interior minister Oprea exclusively benefitted of the car, while the purchase of the car broke the legal provisions, which restrict such investments out of the operative funds of the Interior minister strictly to criminal prosecution actions of the corruption crimes.
Oprea was also amidst scandal of the motorcade affair at the end of last year, when a traffic police officer died in mission while part of the motorcade accompanying former interior minister Oprea.
The former minister has been prosecuted for two abuse of office crimes in the motorcades’ file.