National Anticorruption Directorate

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National Anticorruption Directorate
Direcţia Naţională Anticorupţie (DNA)
Stema-DNA.png
Agency overview
Formed 2002
Jurisdictional structure
National agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
Romania
Operations jurisdiction Romania
Legal jurisdiction As per operations jurisdiction
Headquarters Bucharest

Agency executive
Website
pna.ro

The National Anticorruption Directorate (Romanian: Direcţia Naţională Anticorupţie (DNA)), formerly National Anticorruption Prosecution Office (Romanian: Parchetul Naţional Anticorupţie), is the Romanian agency tasked with preventing, investigating and prosecuting corruption-related offenses (such as bribery, graft, patronage and embezzlement) that caused a material damage to the Romanian state. The institution deals with the fight against high corruption offences, which have caused damage greater than €200,000 or if the object of the crime is property or sums of money amounting to over €10,000.

The DNA was established in 2002 by the Emergency Ordinance no. 43/2002 of the Romanian Government.[1] Initially the institution has been called the National Anticorruption Office (Parchetul Național Anticorupție), and between October 2005 - March 2006 was named the National Anticorruption Department, both operating as autonomous organizations attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice. The model of organization of the DNA has been inspired by similar structures in Spain, Norway and Belgium.[2] The DNA is headed by a Chief-Prosecutor and 2 deputies, nominated by the Minister of Justice and appointed by the President of Romania. The Chief-Prosecutor of the Directorate is subordinated to the General-Prosecutor of the Prosecutor's Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice.

Starting with 2013, the DNA successfully investigated thousands of corruption cases across the entire political spectrum.[3][4][5] According to a report of the European Union, the Romanian DNA had "established an impressive track record in terms of solving high and medium level corruption cases".[6] The DNA has also been an example in terms of its reporting, which shows a high degree of openness and willingness to analyse.[6] According to an INSCOP survey, the trust of Romanians in DNA is very high (59.8%), in comparison with other institutions such as the Parliament (12.6%) or the Government (22.6%).[7]

Jurisdiction

The legislative framework which set up this organisation gave the DNA jurisdiction (authority) over high- and medium-level corruption cases. DNA is an independent entity in relation to the other judiciary branches, the prosecutor's offices attached to these branches, as well as in relations to other public authorities.

Criminal offences falling within jurisdiction of the DNA are those that have as the object of the crime goods or sums which are the equivalent of over €10,000 euro. The institution may also investigate offences connected with acts of corruption if these crimes have caused damage greater than €200,000 or if these types of activities have severely compromised public authorities or public institutions. DNA has exclusive and unlimited jurisdiction in fighting high-level corruption, including in pursuing members of parliament. Through subsequent legislative amendments, DNA's jurisdiction concerning low-level corruption has been eliminated, more precisely corruption cases concerning city mayors, police agents and notaries.

Any corruption case can be investigated by the DNA if the one who commits the crime falls into one of these categories:

  • Officials: members of parliament, senators, members of government, state secretaries or undersecretaries, advisors to ministers, presidential advisors and state counsellors within the presidential administration, councillors of the prime minister, presidents and vice-presidents of county councils, the general mayor and the deputy mayors of Bucharest, the mayors and deputy mayors of Bucharest sectors, mayors and deputy mayors of cities in Romania, county councillors, prefects and sub-prefects;
  • Finance: members and financial controllers of the Court of Audit and county chambers of audit, the governor, first deputy governor and the deputy governor of the National Bank of Romania, the president and vice-president of the Competition Council, the commissioners of the Financial Guard, customs staff, persons holding the senior positions (from director-level and up) in the autonomous administrations of national interest, of national companies and societies, of the banks and commercial companies to which the state is the majority shareholder, of the public institutions that have interest in privatisation processes, persons with senior positions in the units of the central finance and banking, the persons referred to in art. 81 of Law no. 78/2000 with ulterior modifications and completions, the liquidators of the judiciary and of the Authority for Valuation of State Assets (AVAS);
  • Military and police officers: officers, admirals, generals and marshals; police officers;
  • The heads of the central and local public authorities and institutions, persons in positions of control within them, with the exception of the heads of public authorities and institutions at the level of cities and municipalities, and persons with control functions within them, lawyers etc.

The DNA also has the authority to investigate criminal offences directed against the financial interests of the European Union,[8] regardless of the value of the damage. Moreover, the DNA can investigate crimes of macroeconomic significance if they caused a material damage higher than the equivalent in lei of €1,000,000, in the cases of: fraud, forms of abuse of power, certain offences set out in the Customs Code, the criminal offences provided in Law no. 241/2005 for preventing and combating tax evasion.[9]

Organisation

The National Anticorruption directorate is headed by a chief prosecutor, two deputy heads and 4 departamental prosecutors. They are proposed by the Minister of Justice, appointed by President of Romania and approved by the Superior Council of Magistracy for a period of 3 years, with the possibility of being reappointed one more time.[10][11] Acts of corruption committed by those who are included in these latter categories are investigated by prosecutors from other offices.

In order to efficiently solve corruption cases and other specific activities related to criminal prosecution, the DNA prosecutors are supported by the officers and agents of judicial police, as well as other specialists qualified in other fields: economy, finance, banking, customs, etc. These specialists work in the framework of operational teams led, supervised and controlled by the prosecutor responsible for the case.

According to the law, the DNA has financial independence, with funds being secured from the state budget. The chief prosecutor of the directorate is a secondary credit applicant.

DNA is composed of a central structure and a territorial structure. The territorial structure is composed of 15 territorial services and 3 territorial offices:[12]

Sources of information

The DNA can be notified by citizens, companies as well as public authorities. The DNA can also take notice from information resulting from prosecutors' work or from information published in the media.[13]

Complaints from citizens and legal persons

Complaints from citizens and legal persons can be of three types:[13]

  • Complaint - the situation in which a person contacts the DNA to report an offence that affected him or her.
  • Denouncement - the situation in which a person, who has information about alleged crimes of corruption, communicates them to the DNA.
  • Self-denouncement - the situation in which a person, who has committed an offence of corruption and wants to benefit from mitigation or exoneration of criminal responsibility, informs the DNA about the crime before this is found from other sources.

Referrals from public authorities and institutions

The following authorities may also refer corruption-related offences to the DNA:[13]

Activity

The 2014 Anti-corruption report of the European Commission has highlighted the Romanian DNA as one of 5 examples of good practices in anti-corruption agencies across the EU:[14]

DNA has built a notable track record of non-partisan investigations and prosecutions into allegations of corruption at the highest levels of politics, the judiciary and other sectors such as tax administration, customs, energy, transport, construction, healthcare, etc. In the past seven years, DNA has indicted over 4 700 defendants. 90.25% of its indictments were confirmed through final court decisions. Nearly 1 500 defendants were convicted through final court decisions, almost half of them holding very high level positions. Key to these results has been DNA’s structure which incorporates, apart from prosecutors who lead and supervise investigations, judicial police and economic, financial and IT experts

— European Commission, The Anti-Corruption Report, 2014.[14]

By 2015, acting under Laura Codruța Kövesi's leadership, the agency had gained traction against high-level corruption.[15] The agency currently employs 120 prosecutors working on more than 6,000 cases, and has successfully prosecuted dozens of mayors, five MPs, two ex-ministers and a former prime minister in 2014 alone. Hundreds of former judges and prosecutors have also been brought to justice, with a conviction rate above 90%.[16]

In 2015, 12 members of parliament have been investigated, including ministers: “we have investigated two sitting ministers, one of whom went from his ministerial chair directly to pre-trial detention”, Kövesi said.[16]

A 2015 poll suggested that 60% of Romanian trust DNA, compared to only 11% expressing their trust in the Parliament.[16]

Collaboration with SRI

The DNA has also seen its relationship with Romania’s domestic intelligence service, the SRI, questioned by Romanian media and the President of the Romanian Parliament’s SRI Activity Oversight Committee.[17] It has been alleged that the SRI carries out 20,000 telephone intercepts on behalf of the DNA every year.[18]

Controversies

Defendants frequently speak of humiliation in front of the media,[19] with evidence leaked to the newspapers and broadcasters to discredit defendants in advance of their trials.[20]

The former President of Romania, Traian Basescu, interviewed in May 2016, called for the arrest of judges and prosecutors who breached defendants’ human rights.[21] ““Over 100 people investigated in DNA cases have been acquitted this year. They served over 3,000 days in pre-trial arrest. I believe the prosecutors who asked for the pre-trial arrest of these people should be arrested immediately for abuse of power or malfeasance in office, because they falsified evidence. They should be arrested immediately alongside the judges who approved the arrests. This would be just because they destroyed destinies and careers.”[21]

See also

References

  1. ^ ORDONANȚĂ DE URGENȚĂ nr.43 din 4 april 2002 privind Parchetul Național Anticorupție
  2. ^ http://www.pna.ro/about_us.xhtml
  3. ^ "The DNA of Romania's anti-corruption success". Politico.eu. 18 April 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  4. ^ "Bringing in the scalps: the woman leading Romania's war on corruption". The Guardian. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2017. A slew of politicians, mayors, judges and prosecutors have been targeted in an anti-corruption drive quite unlike any other in eastern Europe – or the world for that matter 
  5. ^ Peter H. Frank, Roxana-Maria Gaina (27 November 2014). "Political corruption in Romania: the DNA database". Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council On Progress in Romania under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism". Comisia Europeană. January 2017. p. 12. Retrieved 23 July 2017. The National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) and the High Court of Cassation and Justice (HCCJ) have established an impressive track record in terms of solving high and medium level corruption cases. 
  7. ^ "Barometrul INSCOP – Adevărul despre România" (PDF). INSCOP. March 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  8. ^ according to the Government emergency ordinance no.134/2005, DNA has the exclusive jurisdiction to the research of criminal offences directed against the interests of the European Communities, regardless of daun.
  9. ^ according to the Government emergency Ordinance no. 43/2002
  10. ^ according to the provisions of art. 54 of Law no. 303/2004
  11. ^ Flowchart MS
  12. ^ [1] Archived 2012-01-24 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ a b c "Sursele de Informații ale DNA". Site-ul oficial. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  14. ^ a b "EU ANTI-CORRUPTION REPORT" (PDF). European Commission. 3 February 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2017. The Romanian National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA). A specialised prosecution office for combating medium and high-level corruption, DNA has built a notable track record of non-partisan investigations and prosecutions into allegations of corruption at the highest levels of politics, the judiciary and other sectors such as tax administration, customs, energy, transport, construction, healthcare, etc. In the past seven years, DNA has indicted over 4 700 defendants. 90.25% of its indictments were confirmed through final court decisions. Nearly 1 500 defendants were convicted through final court decisions, almost half of them holding very high level positions. Key to these results has been DNA’s structure which incorporates, apart from prosecutors who lead and supervise investigations, judicial police and economic, financial and IT experts 
  15. ^ "Romania anti-sleaze drive reaches elite - BBC News", Bbc.com, retrieved 6 November 2015 
  16. ^ a b c "Bringing in the scalps: the woman leading Romania's war on corruption", Theguardian.com, retrieved 6 November 2015 
  17. ^ "SRI Spokesman Marincea: SRI and DNA have no protocol – AGERPRES". www.agerpres.ro (in Romanian). Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
  18. ^ "Register to read". www.ft.com. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
  19. ^ "Romania's anti-corruption services are reminiscent of Securitate". EurActiv.com. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
  20. ^ "The European Arrest Warrant is making Britain complicit in political persecution". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
  21. ^ a b "Basescu: Justice has to be defended from those who do injustice in the judiciary .Those who ordered pre-trial arrest of acquitted defendants should be arrested | Nine O`Clock". www.nineoclock.ro. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
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