Romanian anti-graft prosecutors call for criminal inquiries against no less than nine former ministers in Microsoft-related case

Laura Codruţa Kovesi

DNA chief prosecutor Laura Codruţa Kovesi

Romania’s National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) plans to start criminal inquiries against nine former ministers for alleged acts of corruption in a case related to the acquisition of Microsoft licenses. The head of DNA on Friday demanded the Prosecutor General to notify the President of Romania, the speakers of the Senate and House of Deputies and the European Parliament so that it start criminal inquiries against the nine, who served as ministers in Social Democrat Adrian Nastase’s government in the early 2000’s and in more recent years, when Emil Boc, a Democratic Liberal, served as PM.

Prosecutors claim that several former ministers who served under Adrian Nastase and in several governments led by Emil Boc were involved in acts of corruption to sign and extend overpriced contracts, which led to losses to the state budged. The contracts refer to the acquisition of Microsoft licenses for Romanian schools, Microsoft educational products and to a program to develop computerized schooling in Romania.

9 fosti ministri anchetati de DNA in dosarul Microsoft

DNA plans to start criminal inquiries against nine former ministers

The nine former ministers are Ecaterina Andronescu, Valerian Vreme, Serban Mihailescu, Dan Nica, Adrian Ticau, Gabriel Sandu, Daniel Funeriu, Alexandru Athanasiu and Mihai Tanasescu. Daniel Funeriu and Valerian Vreme are accused only with abuse in office, while all others face multiple charges.

In early July, the DNA has ordered an in rem criminal inquiry related to traffic of influence linked to acts of corruption, bribery and abuse in office in a case related to the use of educational licenses. The anti-graft prosecutors launched the inquiries in the case following a notification of current Social Democratic PM Victor Ponta’s Control Body, who claimed educational licenses were used without a contractual or legal basis starting December 2009, when former Democratic Liberal ministers Daniel Funeriu and Valerian Vreme served in Emil Boc’s government.

DNA prosecutors say they hold evidence that former ministers Dan Nica, Serban Mihailescu, Adriana Ticau, Alexandru Athanasiu, Mihai Tanasescu and Gabriel Sandu helped the conclusion of a framework licensing agreement in April 2004 with the possibility of misusing a 47% discount offered by Microsoft for the consideration of the Romanian Government, allowing the payment of commissions by people involved in the process.

A DNA press release says there are indications that these former ministers „claimed and received money” to favor Fujitsu Siemens Computers in relation to the conclusion and application of a Microsoft licensing contract.

Investigations have shown that of the USD 54 million paid by the Romanian Government based on the framework agreement and on its extension in November 2004, USD20 million are commissions claimed by people involved in the process as part of the Romanian Government.