Romania: Axed Anti-Graft Prosecutor Given New Role

Laura Codruta Kovesi, who was removed from her role as Romania’s chief anti-corruption prosecutor earlier this week, will continue her hardline fight against corruption in a new position, local media reported Thursday.

533px-Laura Codruta KövesiLaura Codruta Kovesi (CC BY 3.0)Two days after she was sacked by a presidential decree on Monday, Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar appointed Kovesi as a prosecutor for the public ministry, where she will be responsible for implementing a 2016-2020 national anti-corruption strategy. 

According to a statement by the prosecutor general, her new role will involve updating strategies to fight graft and working on strategies for different prosecutors' offices, Romania Insider reported.

Lazar’s statement revoked an earlier announcement from the Superior Magistrates Council that said Kovesi had been appointed as a prosecutor to Romania’s anti-organized crime agency. 

Opposition party Union to Save Romania had invited Kovesi to join its ranks after she was removed from the anti-corruption office, but has temporarily withdrawn its invitation in light of Lazar’s announcement, according to the Voice of America.

During her stint as the head of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (NAD), Kovesi oversaw the prosecution of thousands of government officials, lawmakers, and business leaders. 

While popular with many ordinary Romanians, Kovesi’s staunch approach to combating corruption earned her many powerful enemies, particularly in the country’s governing Social Democratic Party.

Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis, who has been a vocal supporter of Romania’s anti-corruption drive, was strong-armed into firing Kovesi on Monday. Members of the Social Democratic Party had threatened to suspend him from office if he didn’t follow an order from the Constitutional Court demanding she be removed.

In his first comments since he removed Kovesi from the NAD, Iohannis vowed "more than ever'' to support the anti-corruption fight, according to the Washington Post. Those who are "happy that the anti-corruption fight will slow down'' can think again, he said.