In a display of authority, and to show their people that they’re taking corruption even more seriously, Romanian courts have convicted two former ministers who were found guilty of corruption. Former ministers of agriculture Ioan Avram Muresan and Decebal Traian Remes are both sentenced to 3-year imprisonment.
According to reports and gathered evidence, Muresan collaborated with Remes so that the latter can get €15,000, alongside food items like sausages and an alcoholic beverage known as “palinka”, so that a specific businessman can receive preferential treatment in the form of the businessman’s son winning two public auctions. Muresan served as Romania’s minister of agriculture from 1998 until 2000. Meanwhile, Remes was in service from April to October 2007 after his resignation following the release of a footage which served as evidence of him receiving the said bribe.
Muresan was actually sentenced to seven-year imprisonment last 2011, after embezzling $1.2 million from grants by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This caused him to be the first ever high-ranking official in the Romanian government to be imprisoned for graft and corruption. Although he was charged early on in 2003, his trial only started five years later after a successive postponement.
Remes, on the other hand, was charged in 2008 under the accusation that he was receiving a bribe from Gheorghe Ciorba. Ciorba was only sentenced to imprisonment but only for a year and a half. Remes’ case came in right after Romanian courts have successfully dealt with the case of former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase who was convicted of misusing a publicly funded conference in order to raise funds for his campaign back in 2004.
The Move Towards Quelling Corruption
All of Romania’s move to quell corruption stemmed from its efforts to repair its poor image as among the most corrupt nations in the European Union. By successfully repairing such image, only then will the country be admitted to the visa-free travel zone in the Schengen Area.
Not long ago, Bucharest has been criticized due to a European Commission report discussing the failure of the country to deal with its problems relating to corruption. Also, a previous month report from the Romanian Transparency International mentioned about the country’s failing grade in the test for corruption resistance.
Sentences come one after another after Natasa was convicted of corruption and sentenced to two-year imprisonment for embezzling a total of $2.1 million government funds in a case known as the “Quality Trophy” from the symposium titled “Quality Trophy” which was actually organized by the State Inspectorate for Quality in Construction.
The battle for corruption in Romania still continues up to this day, with quite a number of cases filed against several officials. However, there are still plenty of people who remain disappointed, noting that other non-political individuals are convicted rather quickly, while those of politicians involved in such large-scale cases left unprocessed for long periods of time.
There’s been a widespread opinion that people aren’t equal before the law, and most of the time, they have to resort to petty bribery to gain court favours.