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World

AFP
April 17, 2018

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Romanian president refuses to sack corruption prosecutor

BUCHAREST: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis announced Monday that he has refused a government request to fire the country’s popular chief anti-corruption prosecutor, Laura Codruta Kovesi.

Iohannis said he had rejected the proposal from Justice Minister Tudorel Toader to fire Kovesi, head of the anti-corruption body DNA, saying he was not convinced by Toader’s arguments for her dismissal. Toader launched the procedure to sack Kovesi in February, accusing her among other things of “damaging the image” of Romania by criticising the government’s judicial reforms. As well as sparking street protests at home, those reforms have raised worries abroad that Romania may be backsliding in its fight against corruption. More than 108,000 people had signed an online petition calling on Iohannis not to dismiss Kovesi. Kovesi has helped bring a raft of corrupt officials to justice in recent years in one of the EU’s most graft-ridden countries. This has won her praise abroad but also made her powerful enemies in Romania, as many of those convicted are members of, or close to, the left-wing ruling party.

Earlier this year Kovesi said the agency had investigated a record number of cases in 2017, despite “unprecedented attacks” by political authorities.

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