Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Romania indicts ex-labour minister on graft charges

Paul Pacuraru lost his job in the Liberal cabinet of former Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu last year after the country's president suspended him from office pending a criminal inquiry.

Anti-graft prosecutors said in a statement the indictment comes four months after the Senate approved a request from prosecutors to launch an investigation into allegations Pacuraru sought state contracts for his son's construction company.

Pacuraru has denied any wrongdoing and said the case was a result of political feuds between Tariceanu and President Traian Basescu ahead of the Nov. 30 parliamentary election.

High-level graft cases in Romania have faced obstacles in courts and parliament since 2007, but Romania has so far escaped EU sanctions even though its fellow new member state Bulgaria saw aid cut because of poor results in fighting crime.

Bucharest's new centre-left government, sworn in on Monday, pledged to continue fighting graft and strengthening anti-crime institutions but political observers say the uneasy coalition will struggle to vigorously revive reforms.

Tariceanu's government introduced justice system reforms in the run-up to EU accession in 2007 but these lost momentum amid political bickering.


No comments: