Tourism Minister Udrea: The inquiry committee was designed to tarnish me

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The parliamentary inquiry committee set up to investigate the spending of the Tourism Ministry had only one purpose, to tarnish a minister of the Democratic-Liberal Party (PD-L) ahead of the presidential election, Tourism Minister Elena Udrea argued on Wednesday.

‘The Vanghelie committee headed by Mr. Ludovic Orban has accomplished the mission for which it was devised by the Social Democratic Party (PS, PD-L partner in the ruling coalition) and the opposition National Liberal Party, namely to concoct by all means criminal charges against me. The committee was designed with a single purpose in mind, namely to tarnish a PD-L minister ahead of the presidential election.

The intentions of the committee have been developed and proved by media coverage of its discussions, which clearly indicated that they had only one mission: find out at any costs, even by fabrication, criminal charges to be levelled against the Tourism Ministry and me,’ said Udrea.

Udrea argued that the report presented by Ludovic Orban does not add anything new, insisting that the Tourism Ministry has been conducting business in full legality.

She also argued that no parliamentary committee has the right to issue verdicts or legal sentences, ‘irrespective of the political or electoral interests the members of such committees may have.’

‘The accusations levelled in the report indicate bad faith, a lack of juridical knowledge, abusive and illegal behaviour displayed by the members of the committee for as long as the committee was operational,’ said Udrea.

The minister pointed to the accusation in the report of a conflict of interest on grounds that she won the rescheduling of a loan taken out from the BRD at the same time when she signed with the bank a protocol under which BRD was to make a world promotion clip for the ministry, citing from a short report of the National Integrity Agency (INA).

‘Following an analysis of the documents based on which the initial loan was granted we found out that there are no elements pointing to the wealth amassed during the term in office or as a result of infringements of the juridical regime of incompatibilities and conflict of interest. Likewise, there is no evidence or indication that criminal acts have been committed,’ reads the ANI report from which the minister quoted.

Countering the accusation of abuse of office for having allowed state secretaries and the secretary general of the Tourism Ministry to ‘usurp’ her ministerial capacity, Udrea argued that the law allows her to delegate tasks.

‘In fact, the state secretary and the secretary general carried out the duties ordered by the minister which I signed and under which I delegated the tasks in accordance with the law. As a minister, I have the possibility of delegating under an order the duties I carry out, and under which the two state secretaries and the secretary general acted on behalf of the minister,’ she explained.

The committee inquiring into the spending of the Tourism Ministry on Wednesday recommended the Chamber of Deputies that they request the dismissal of Elena Udrea as minister and commence criminal prosecution for having committed and instigated abuse of office.

The committee also asked the Chamber of Deputies to demand the criminal prosecution of Udrea for alleged infringements of the law on ministerial accountability because of the behaviour and attitude toward the activity of the inquiry committees.

The committee’s chair Ludovic Orban says the final report was unanimously voted and will be submitted to the Standing Bureau of the Chamber of Deputies today.

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