The National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) has asked for the Senate’s approval to start the prosecution of former Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea, also senator, accused of abuse of office, as during official trips he had been accompanied by crews of the Traffic Police – motorcades, an operation made available under a protocol, illegally, also to Prosecutor General General Tiberiu Nitu.
DNA prosecutors must get the go ahead from the Senate in order to start prosecution against Gabriel Oprea. In this regard, the DNA head prosecutor has sent to the Prosecutor General a report on the file, in view of notifying the Senate, as well as 15 volumes containing copies of the investigation file.
According to DNA, Oprea is guilty on two counts of abuse of office, one consisting of the use of human and material resources of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) to ensure that, unlawfully, he was accompanied by motorcades during his term as minister and the other one consisting in the conclusion of a protocol under which the Prosecutor General, Tiberiu Nitu, also benefited unlawfully from the traffic police motorcades.
During January 2014 – November 2015, Gabriel Oprea served as interior minister (and since March 2014 also as Deputy Prime Minister for national security). During this period, he benefited from motorcades, in breach of the conditions of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 195/2002 on public roads, approved by government decision no. 1391/2006 (which provides motorcades accompany only the Romanian President, the speakers of both houses of parliament and the Prime Minister), the DNA states.
After the anti-corruption body informed on the prosecution request, Gabriel Oprea told a press conference that he would support all actions to find the truth in this case, but he would also defend his rights.
“First of all, I respect and have respected Romania’s laws during my entire activity. I consider myself innocent, and this will confirm sooner or later,” Oprea said, while mentioning it’s the prosecutors’ duty to probe into suspicions regarding potential breaches.
“I supported the judiciary and the National Anti-corruption Directorate during my political activity and I shall keep on endorsing them (…) I consider I have the same rights before the justice as any other Romanian. I will not hinder the proceedings of the investigation and I shall defend my citizen rights,” ex-Interior minister said, adding that he has the benefit of the doubt.
Oprea also stated that any political activity involves risks, including the one of becoming “collateral victim” in the fight for power. ” I don’t regret the political decisions that I’ve taken and I will never change my principles, regardless of the situation that I’ll face,” he argued.