29 March 2019
A Romanian agency has filed criminal charges against former chief anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi and banned her from leaving the country for two months, it said on Friday. The agency (SIIJ) said it has charged Kovesi with taking a bribe, abuse of office and giving false testimony, without providing details of the case.

During her five-year tenure as the head of Romania’s DNA anti-corruption office, conviction rates for high-level graft jumped across the political spectrum. This won the approbation of Brussels, civil society groups and private investors.

President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday called a national referendum for May 26, seeking to thwart a drive by Romania’s ruling Social Democrats (PSD) to weaken anti-graft legislation. He has always been a critic of the government.

Kovesi is a leading the contestants to become the European Union’s first fraud prosecutor. Romania’s ruling Social Democrats who forced her out of the country’s anti-corruption prosecuting unit DNA last year.

Romania’s government, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, has actively lobbied against Kövesi.

Transparency International ranks Romania as one of the EU’s most corrupt states. European Union has kept its judicial system under special monitoring since it joined the bloc in 2007. Reuters reported.