Romanian ex-minister quits parliament after scandal protests

A former Romanian ex-minister will step down from parliament after being involved in a number of scandals, including the death of a police motorcyclist

Romanian ex-minister quits parliament after scandal protests

World Bulletin / News Desk

A Romanian former interior minister on Monday announced he was stepping down from the Senate after being implicated in a scandal involving the death of a police motorcyclist.

The move will lift Gabriel Oprea's immunity from investigation into a high-profile case unfolding in the runup to parliamentary elections.

The ex minister, under escalating pressure to quit after street protests last week, posted his resignation letter on his Facebook account.

Oprea denied the allegations against him, describing them as "attacks and lies".

Romania's powerful anti-corruption agency opened an inquiry for involuntary homicide after the death last October of a police motorcyclist escorting Oprea.

His motorcade was said to be travelling at an excessive speed when the fatal accident happened.

Prosecutors allege Oprea had abused the police outrider service and illegally purchased a luxury car from the account of his ministry's in-house secret service, the DIPI.

The Social Democrat-dominated Senate refused to lift Oprea's immunity from prosecution, triggering criticism from opposition figures, President Klaus Iohannis and the US ambassador to Romania, Hans Klemm. Klemm said no person should be above the law.

Several thousand people gathered in protest rallies last Thursday in Bucharest and other cities.

The country holds parliamentary elections on December 11 where a key issue will be the string of scandals that have engulfed mainstream parties in recent years.

Oprea had served in the government until November 2015, when he was succeeded by Petre Toba, who quit this month in a case of alleged embezzlement of public funds.

Romania, an EU member since 2007, has come under close scrutiny from Brussels in the areas of corruption and judicial reform.

In its annual reports, the European Commission has criticised the Romanian parliament over its refusal to lift the immunity of many figures targeted by the anti-corruption agency.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Eylül 2016, 09:36
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