Former Interior minister Gabriel Oprea was heard at the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) on Monday morning in the policeman death case after president Iohannis Okayed the prosecutors’ prosecution request against him for culpable homicide on Friday.
Oprea said after the hearing that he apologized to policeman Bogda Gigina’s family, yet adding that the car had below 60 km per hour at the moment of the accident and that he “was not coming back from any drinking house”.
“I was during work, coming back from a partner institution and he fell down here. Nobody was in a hurry. The speed of my car and of the car accompanying us was below 60 km/hour. I apologize to policeman Gigina’s family, I know what means to have a death in the family, it’s a huge tragedy that nobody wanted, but I was not returning from the restaurant, from any drinking house, I was coming back from work,” the former Interior minister said.
Oprea also pointed out that the car he was in that night stooped after the traffic police officer Bogdan Gigina had fallen down, but that another policeman from the car accompanying them “waived them to leave”. The former minster argued he was not aware it had been an accident.
“It’s a tragedy thay I have to go through with dignity. It’s very hard. For Bogdan’s parents as well, for they buried their own child….It’s a message of unity, the policeman, gendarme job is very difficult. I was at work, the car had no speed and this tragedy happened,” Oprea stated.
In retort, the late police officer’s mom, Carmen Gigina says former minister Oprea has no dignity. “<I am trying to get over this tragedy with dignity>, says Mr. general Oprea. My opinion is you don’t know the sense of this word. There is the dictionary for this. If you had proven this quality, today we would have had the answer for the death of the one who accompanied you on your route,” Bogdan Gigina’s mother posted on Facebook.
President Klaus Iohannis on Friday sent to the Justice minister the prosecution request against ex-Interior minister Gabriel Oprea in the death case of policeman Bogdan Gigina.
Anti-corruption prosecutors on Wednesday asked Romania’s President to Ok the prosecution for culpable homicide against former Interior Gabriel Oprea. The request is made after Oprea has resigned from the Senate and the resignation was published in the Official Gazette.
The Senate vetoed the prosecution go-ahead against Oprea about a month ago.
Subsequently, Oprea resigned from the Parliament, so prosecutors came with a new request to investigate him, addressed to President Iohannis, according to the ministerial responsibility law.
The new charge of culpable homicide is related to the death of police officer Bogdan Gigina last year. Ex-Interior minister Oprea is already investigated in this case for abuse of office.
Prosecutors argue that at the moment of the accident the victim Bogdan Gigina was part of the motorcade accompanying minister Gabriel Oprea, who was heading to his residence in Cotroceni district.
The prosecutors say that on October 20, 2015, around 19:00hrs, police agent Bogdan Gigina was involved in a traffic collision that left him with a haemorrhaging head injury from head and face trauma that caused his death.
“At the time of the accident, the victim Gigină Bogdan Cosmin was part of a motorcade accompanying Minister Gabriel Oprea. (…) At the time of the accident, the Minister Gabriel Oprea was heading for his home located in Cotroceni,” the prosecutors say in a press release.
According to DNA, the evidence in the file show that “in violation of the legal provisions governing the escort of dignitaries, Interior Minister Oprea Gabriel ordered, for himself, to benefit permanently from accompanying crews of traffic police, the motorcades being made up by a traffic police car (an agent and a traffic police officer) and a motorcycle of the traffic police.”
Gabriel Oprea, as minister, was making an average of five trips daily during which he was accompanied by teams of traffic police, the number of trips being “about three times higher than those achieved in the same period for escorting the President of Romania and about twice higher than after the prime minister, officials entitled to motorcades under the law,” DNA informs.
Investigators say proof so far shows consistent indications that, Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea ordered for self round-the-clock accompanying by a team of Highway Police officers made up of one motor vehicle of the Highway Police (one agent and one officer) and a motorcycle of the Highway Police, all in violation of the legal provisions regulating the accompanying of dignitaries.
The said workers were part of the staff of a special department of the Highway Brigade of DGPMB that provides accompanying services for official motorcades. Some workers were designated exclusively to accompany the minister in a round-the-clock structure that entailed simultaneous provision of three police staff for each position (two replacements and one alternate). The staff would be at the minister’s disposal round the clock, waiting for him after each trip very near to the destination. Analysis of documents attesting to the daily composition of the accompanying missions and trips reveals that Oprea would make about five daily trips when he would be accompanied by police motorcades,” the prosecutors conclude.
“Each trip would also entail the reassignment of a significant number of police agents from their usual positions to the trails followed by the dignitary, which consequently disturbs traffic surveillance, guidance and control. For instance, on October 20, 2015, when the accident occurred, the motorcade was made up of 27 police staff assigned to the intersections on the minister’s route. The intersections were not assigned according to traffic load, and the guiding maneuvers were not intended to optimise traffic, but to curtail the time of the minister’s time on the road,” DNA says.
The prosecutors’ paper and 18 volumes of the prosecution case will reach the Romanian Senate, documentation on which the senators will decide whether they authorize prosecution for manslaughter.