Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Liberals propose Senator to be new Romanian justice minister

Monday, December 17, 2007

BUCHAREST, Romania: The ruling Liberal party on Monday nominated Norica Nicolai, a Liberal Senator who investigated claims that the CIA hosted secret detention centers in Romania, as the country's new justice minister.

Nicolai would replace Tudor Chiuariu, also a Liberal, who resigned last week amid a corruption investigation. Her nomination needs to be approved by President Traian Basescu.

Nicolai said she would not be politically biased in running the ministry, adding she would formulate an anti-corruption strategy.

The European Union, which Romania joined in January, has urged Romania to continue reforms in the justice system and to continue to fight corruption, particularly high-level corruption.

Nicolai who headed a parliamentary commission into the claims that the CIA had hosted secret prisons, said there was no evidence that was the case and called on the Council of Europe to back up its claims.

Chiuariu resigned after prosecutors accused him and a former telecommunications minister, Zsolt Nagy, in September of corruption in a real estate deal.

Prosecutors say Chiuariu and Nagy abused their positions when they sold real estate owned by the national post office in April to a private company reported to be linked to the ruling Liberal Party. Chiuariu said the claims were politically motivated.

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