The former head of the National Office for Witness Protection (ONPM), Adrian Barascu and the six employees with whom he was detained by the DNA prosecutors, were remanded for 30 days, decided Tuesday the Court of Appeal. The decision may be appealed to the High Court.
According to the Romanian Police, Police Quaestor Adrian Augustin Barascu and chief commissioner of police Felicia Violeta Popa were fired and made available to their unit.
To hide the fact that the institution used the money for luxury cars and vacations, Adrian Barascu allegedly negotiated with two deputies to support a law on passing the office from the Police to the Ministry of Justice. The talks, say the investigators, were held in the restaurant of a businessman having constant contracts with the office. Meanwhile, witnesses to be protected were held in poor houses and taken to resorts, so that the officers could spend holidays without being considered on leave, prosecutors say, according to digi24.ro.
There are countless complaints against the former head of the Office for Witness Protection. Police leadership, former subordinates, and dozens of witnesses with protected identity have shaped the portrait of Adrian Barascu – he wanted to have independence ‘as the DNA has’. So, prosecutors say, he paid meals for two MPs to persuade them to change the law so that the institution is concentrated only in his hand.
But investigators have evidence that Adrian Barascu and his subordinates have spent the office’s funds on luxury cars, on holidays and on equipping offices with the latest equipment. Even the ‘transport missions’ in the documents were often actually made in personal interest, as for the transportation of pigs bought for Christmas, say the investigators.
“Witnesses who ‘dared’ challenge the ONPM practices were persecuted, while favouring those who agreed to participate in the formation of fake protection missions for spending the year-end in the mountains or for holidays at the seaside during the summer,” the DNA report reads.
The prosecutors also mention the unimaginable cynicism of one of the psychologists with the ONPM.
“On the night of 14/15 June 2013, the defendant Lita Andreea Violeta, as the psychologist assigned to assist a protected witness, did not fulfil her duties, while the latter informed her of his intent and motivations to commit a suicidal act (the suicide attempt took place), which caused damage that person’s rights conferred by the inclusion in witness programme,” the DNA report further reads.
The psychologist was remanded in this case.
In total, nine officers from the Office for Witness Protection are investigated for establishing a criminal group, for abuse of office, embezzlement, forgery or fraudulent misuse of funds.