Laura Codruta Kovesi, Romania's anti-corruption prosecutor, is dismissed

“Do not give up, corruption can be defeated!”, was the message from Laura Codruta Kovesi, the former head of the Romanian National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), after President Iohannis signed off on her dismissal.

Delia Budurca
Delia Budurca NewsMavens, Romania
Laura Codruta Kovesi, Romania's anti-corruption prosecutor, is dismissed - NewsMavens
Laura Codruta Kovesi, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

On Monday, President Iohannis respected the decision of the Constitutional Court (CCR) and signed the Decree of Revocation for the leader of the DNA Division, Laura Codruta Kovesi. President Iohannis, who has always shown support for the DNA Chief-Prosecutor, postponed this act until the last possible moment. Also, tellingly, the announcement of the dismissal was made by his spokeswoman, and not directly by the President.

In her 13 years as the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA, Laura Codruta Kovesi has become synonymous with Romania's anti-corruption fight. This was a struggle that included ministers and top political personalities, including Liviu Dragnea, the head of the PSD parliamentary party and chief of the Chamber of Deputies, one of the two chambers of the Romanian parliament. Dragnea previously received a two-year suspended sentence  which barred him from assuming the post of prime minister when his party won the 2016 elections. He was also recently convicted of creating fake jobs for party members, although the case is under appeal.

As Romania, and neighboring Bulgaria, are still under EU observation for corruption, Codruta Kovesi gained international praise for her efforts.

She also had her critics, the PSD-Alde coalition also accused her of authoritarianism, falsification of the records in the files and the fact that those targeted in the files handled by prosecutors were subsequently acquitted.

On Monday, she appeared after the presidential announcement with all the DNA prosecutors backing her. During her speech, she denounced upcoming and controversial legal reforms as an attempt to weaken the possibility of politicians being prosecuted for corruption. 

Details from the story:

  • The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) established by decision no. 358/30 May 2018, that the President of Romania has to issue the decree on the dismissal of the Chief Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate, Laura Codruta Kövesi, thus imposing an obligation on the President.
  • Laura Codruta Kovesi has not resigned, although it was one of the options discussed by the analysts. She always rejected all the charges.  
  • Codruta Kovesi wants to return to being a simple prosecutor, but opponents have claimed she will attempt to exploit the huge political capital she has gained over the years.
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