18 February 2019

Laura Codruta Kovesi (picture above) was dismissed from her position as chief prosecutor at Romania’s National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) in July 2018. She has irritated many politicians for her uncompromising stance on graft. Now the ruling Social Democrats (PSD), is making her to feel the wrath of the politicians she’d targeted. This drama has reached a new low point, with Kovesi facing trumped-up charges of malfeasance, bribery and perjury.

Sebastian Ghita started a campaign against Kovesi, accusing her of working with the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) on taking down high-profile politicians and business people.

Sebastian Ghita is a former Romanian MP who fled the country in December 2016 amid several corruption investigations. He has been granted political asylum in Serbia. He was acquitted by the Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice in a case in which he was accused of bribery, buying influence, use of confidential information, blackmail and money laundering. The judges also revoked the international arrest warrant on his name and lifted the distraint on his assets.

Sebastian Ghita claimed that nearly a decade ago, when Kovesi served as chief prosecutor, she coerced him into paying over €40,000 to Indonesian officials to ensure the extradition of a Romanian criminal who had fled the country. Ghita said this constituted malfeasance and bribery. He did not say what benefit he got from Kovesi for paying the €40,000. Two years ago, Romanian police officially declared that they had footed the bill for a charter plane that transported the fugitive, Nicolae Popa.

The campaign to discredit Kovesi is orchestrated by PSD head and government leader Liviu Dragnea, who has been barred from the post of prime minister because of his own conviction for malfeasance and vote-rigging.

Kovesi has applied for the post of the EU’s chief prosecutor. An agency set up by the ruling Social Democrats (PSD) scheduled a hearing for her on the same day that she would have travelled to Brussels to be interviewed for the job. This is an obvious effort to sabotage her career.

Gunther Krichbaum, the chair of the Bundestag’s European affairs committee and a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, called Kovesi’s trial politically motivated. He said that the trial is being used to torpedo her promising candidacy to become the EU’s chief prosecutor.

Civil society and the majority of judges and public prosecutors back Kovesi. And acting President Klaus Iohannis has publicly lauded her work in the past. She is held in high esteem in the European Union and is regarded as the most likely candidate to head the bloc’s new prosecutor’s office.

Deutsche Welle reported.