Chief Prosecutor with the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) Crin Bologa announced on Thursday that anti-corruption prosecutors have registered 33 cases in connection with the award of healthcare procurement contracts during the novel coronavirus pandemic."In connection with the coronavirus pandemic, I can inform you that 33 criminal cases have been registered with the DNA, out of which in 25 cases the prosecutors are acting on their own motion. In these cases, investigations are carried out in the violation of legal provisions in connection with the organisation, award and conduct of direct public procurement contracts for protective equipment: face masks, face shields, coveralls, insulators and other materials. It also regards the purchase of non-compliant medical masks, considered dangerous and prohibited in the EU," Bologa told an online news conference.
Bologa explained that when prosecutors identify violations of secondary legislation in these cases, there is a limit set by the Constitutional Court that prevents the Prosecutor's Office from considering the misdeed as an abuse of office.
According to the head of DNA, prosecutors are also investigating corruption during the pandemic to ensure that the public budget is not "siphoned off to the pockets of the corrupt."
"Despite the legal limitations caused by the state of emergency, it must be emphasised that any act of corruption, bribe giving, bribe taking, influence peddling, conflict of interest, abuse of office in connection with these public procurements are and remain criminal acts, and DNA, within the limits of its powers, pays utmost attention to all complaints. We do not investigate corruption in order to tick off statistics, increase the caseload or hinder the efforts of the government to fight against the spread of the virus, but, on the contrary, we want to make sure that these public forces in the health sector have achieved their goal, that the public budget is not wasted, siphoned off to the pockets of the corrupt," said Bologa.