Romania: Alina Bica, figure of a corrupt government

Written by Manon Béguin, correspondent in Bucharest, Romania Translation by Aino Lehtonen
6 Janvier 2015

On November 21 this year, Alina Bica, the Head of the department for Combating Organised Crime and Terrorism, was indicted. She was suspected of involvement in a scheme of corruption. A plot, believed to cost the Romanian state approximately 76.7 million dollars (62.5 million euros), was being revealed.

Credits DR
Credits DR
Since its accession to the European Union in 2007, Romania keeps mentioning corruption and organised crime as one of its main concerns. But how to combat this scourge when those primarily responsible are the dignified representatives of the state itself? 

National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) – led by Laura Kövesi and encouraged by the European Union since 2005 – has been shaking up the political order, revealing several corruption cases,  and fighting to to bring greater political transparency towards the people of Romania. Amongst the most highly-publicized arrests Adrian Nastase, socialist Prime Minister between 2000 and 2004, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for corruption in 2012.

On September 30, nine ex-ministers were accused of accepting bribes by buying Microsoft software for a price five times lower than market prices.
On October 21, a spokesman of Victor Ponta, a socialist candidate in the last presidential elections, was summoned by the prosecutors of DNA and accused of lobbying the Ministry of Justice to make it pass a draft law that would pardon several politicians in prison for corruption. 

It was in these circumstances – and in the aftermath of an election full of hope for those fighting corruption – that the Alina Bica case exploded. 

A disturbing case

November 21, five days after the victory of Klaus Johannis in presidential elections. Even though Johannis’ campaign prioritised combat against corruption, a case radically alters the political community right after the election: Alina Bica, no more and no less than the Head of Department for Combat Against Corruption and Terrorism, and a prosecutor and ex-Secretary of State, was indicted. 

Bica is suspected of losing 76.7 million dollars (62.5 million euros) for the Romanian State. Her name, well known for her earlier positions within the government, comes up the most often in this case, but she is not alone. Four other politicians are involved in the case. 

The case dates back to 2011, when Bica, Alexandru, Bogdan, Diacomatu and Attila were members of the national commission for the restoration of properties seized by the former communist regime. 

When a real-estate tycoon Stelian Gheorghe claimed compensation for 13 hectares of land in the Plumbuita neighbourhood in Bucharest, the members of the commission turned to Emil Nutiu, a real estate expert, to estimate the value of the property. The Department of Justice says the estimation of 104.4 million dollars (85 million euros) given by Mr. Nutiu was considerably higher than the real value of the land – 30.7 million dollars (25 million euros). The false estimation caused a loss of 76.7 million dollars (62.5 million euros) to the Romanian State. The members of the commission are accused of turning a blind eye to this sum with full conscience of the case, in order to receive a financial compensation. 

Johannis, the hope of a betrayed people

Nevertheless, the case is not about to be closed. The involvement of several politicians comes up every week. At a time when corruption is very easy to find in Romania, the election of Klaus Johannis gives true hope to the Romanians. During his campaign, the newly-elected president declared: “I am the only candidate still competing ready to guarantee you justice, independence and rule of law”.

The people of Romania are expecting a lot of their new president, who has yet to prove himself and change the corrupt politics of the country that is developing in all areas.