Romanian deputies reject anti-graft body's request to pursue criminal inquiry against fellow MP in sensitive corruption case
Members of Romania's House of Deputies rejected on Tuesday a request by the National Anticorruption Department to approve a criminal inquiry against former minister Rovana Plumb, a deputy for the governing Social Democrats (PSD), in a major corruption case. Defending herself in Parliament, Plumb suggested the case was part of a campaign to "demonize" the PSD, while a fellow PSD deputy, Judicial Commission head Eugen Nicolicea, put up a report claiming that the law was not broken in any way.
Deputies voted 184 against and 99 in favor of the DNA request. Plumb is eyed, along another former minister, in the so-called Belina case, which has shaken the PSD leadership. Prosecutors claim the two intervened to allow the transfer of property of a state-owned Danube island in the property of local authorities, in a move which, according to media investigations, benefited PSD leader Liviu Dragnea.
Rovana Plumb, in her capacity of former minister, is seen as key in the development of the Belina case.
In her defense in Parliament today, she claimed the DNA request was the result of an abuse and created a dangerous precedent, part of a "permanent attempt" to "demonize the PSD, compromise the governing program and, if possible, overturning the popular vote" which led the PSD to power in general elections last year.
At the time of the actions for which she is eyed by the DNA, Plumb was serving as Environment minister. More recently, she served as European Funds minister, but she and fellow indicted minister Sevil Shhaideh submitted their resignations late last week at the peak of a power struggle between Dragnea and PM Mihai Tudose.
On Tuesday, President Klaus Iohannis signed the decrees naming the new ministers in the government reshuffle: Paul Stanescu as Regional Development minister, Felix Stroe as Transport minister and Marius Nica as a minister delegate for European funds.