President Iohannis OKs Lifting Immunity for Former Health Ministers in COVID-19 Vaccine Procurement Case


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President Klaus Iohannis has given the green light for criminal investigations against former USR (Save Romania Union) Health Ministers, Vlad Voiculescu and Ioana Mihăilă, regarding the investigation into the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic.

The DNA (National Anti-corruption Directorate) prosecutors set up a file in the COVID-19 vaccine matter, where former PM Florin Cîțu, ex-Health minister Vlad Voiculescu, and ex-Health minister Ioana Mihăilă are being investigated for abuse of office and complicity in abuse of office.

The prosecutors argue that the three, who were prime minister and health ministers, approved the purchase of tens of millions of vaccine doses beyond the already contracted necessary amount, covering more than enough for the estimated population to be vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The name of the current head of the National Health Insurance House, Andrei Baciu, also appears in the prosecutors’ report sent to the Senate, along with the request to lift immunity for Florin Cîțu.

In their report, the anti-corruption prosecutors outline the history of COVID-19 vaccine acquisitions by the Florin Cîțu Government. Prosecutors state that in December 2020, Romania contracted over 37.5 million vaccine doses through the European Commission, even though it reported an estimated population to be vaccinated of 10.7 million people. In the end, Romania ended up ordering and paying for over 90 million vaccine doses.

On Monday, former Prime Minister Florin Cîțu stated that he would ask his party colleagues to vote for the lifting of his parliamentary immunity, but emphasized that he would not resign from the party or the parliamentary group.

USR (Save Romania Union) President Cătălin Drulă launched an attack on the DNA during a political event on Friday, stating that the case opened against Vlad Voiculescu is an alarming example of the use of state institutions against political opposition and that the rule of law is being trampled upon.

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