Romania progresses in fighting graft: chief prosecutor
(BUCHAREST) - Romania has made "constant progress" in the fight against high-level corruption, sending 11 top officials to jail since 2010, chief anti-graft prosecutor Daniel Morar said Wednesday.
"Some 1,500 persons were convicted over graft between 2005 and October 1, 2012. Nearly half of them were holding important positions," said Morar, who is ending a seven-year term as head of the antigraft prosecutor's office (DNA).
A former prime minister - the Social-Democrat Adrian Nastase sentenced in June to two years in prison -, a minister and a secretary of state as well as eight lawmakers figure among those convicted on graft charges.
"For the sake of comparison, no member of government or lawmaker was convicted between 2002 and 2009," Morar stressed.
Twenty-six mayors and prefects, 24 magistrates and 164 policemen have also been sent to jail, official figures show.
"The number of indictments and convictions shows that there is no longer any off-limits area to prosecutors and judges," Morar said.
But he warned that the trend could be reversed and insisted that the new heads of the DNA and of the general prosecutor's office to be named soon by Justice Minister Mona Pivniceru should reject all political interference.
The European Commission and the United States slammed Romania's centre-left government over violations of the rule of law during procedures to impeach centre-right president Traian Basescu last July.
Brussels also stressed it would closely monitor the appointment of the new DNA chief and of the general prosecutor, calling on Pivniceru to follow a fully transparent procedure.
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