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PM Grindeanu: Government will NOT back amendment on pardon of corruption acts

Premier Sorin Grindeanu declared on Tuesday that the Executive would not back the amendment presented by the social-democrat (PSD) MP Serban Nicolae, which pardoned acts of corruption.

“I think the minister of justice has clarified the matter and I also point out: the government does not back the amendment you were talking about. We sent a draft law which did not have those things stipulated,” premier Sorin Grindeanu said in an interview at Radio Romania Actualitati.

Tudorel Toader, the minister of justice declared on Tuesday, when asked about senator Serban Nicolae’s amendment, that personally, he did not think it should also be applied to acts of corruption. He added he would read the proposal and present the point of view of the Ministry of Justice.

I will read the proposal and we will have a point of view of the Ministry of Justice. I think it is senator Serban Nicolae’s personal option, a personal initiative”the minister said when entering the National Statistics Institute where the Public Ministry was presenting the annual report.

 President Klaus Iohannis comment on Tuesday the proposals of Parliament regarding the pardon of some sentences, stating that it would give "a totally wrong" signal in society if corrupted persons were to be pardoned.
"I wouldn't want to get into details. The situation is in Parliament. If corrupted persons were to be pardoned it would give a totally wrong signal in society. I count on the realism and good faith of the MPs," the head of state said, after attending the presentation of the activity review for 2016 of the Public Ministry, when asked about the amendments filed to the draft law regarding pardon. 

He expressed his hope that there won't be any progress regarding this matter. 

"It's very important to see that the society became extremely active and if these initiatives were to be advanced, certainly we would have very powerful reactions coming from society for advancing them. I hope it won't happen," the head of state said.

A lawmaker from Romania's ruling Social Democrats proposed extending a draft bill granting prison pardons to include corruption offences, weeks after protests forced the government to abandon plans to decriminalise some graft charges.

It is unclear whether the Social Democrat party, which together with junior partner ALDE holds a large parliamentary majority, would support the amendment presented by Senator Serban Nicolae, who said it was a personal not party proposal. "I don't think ... the corrupt must live three to a bed in dampness and with precarious hygiene," he told reporters.

In its initial form, the draft pardons prison sentences of up to five years except for violence, treason, genocide and other serious crimes, as well as repeat offenders. It would halve sentences for pregnant women and single family earners.

Nicolae's amendment would include pardoning sentences for bribery, influence peddling, abuse of power and conflict of interest. He said roughly 2,700 people would benefit from the bill, just under 10 percent of all of Romania's convicts.