Romania Sentences Former Ministers for Corruption
Romanian courts convicted two former ministers of corruption Tuesday in another move to show that it is taking corruption more seriously. Decebal Traian Remes and Ioan Avram Muresan, both former ministers of agriculture, each received three year prison sentences.
Both Muresan, who served as agriculture minister from 1998 until 2000 and Remes, who was minister from April until October 2007, were found guilty of peddling their influence.
According to the verdict, Muresan arranged for Remes to receive €15,000 and food products like such as sausages and alcohol in exchange for a businessman to get preferential treatment in a public tender process.
Muresan was convicted last year of embezzling US$1.2 million in grants from the United States Agency for International Development(USAID). He is already serving a seven year sentence.
Romania has struggled to repair its image as one of the European Union’s most corrupt countries in order to be admitted into the visa-free Schengen travel zone. Bucharest drew criticism in a recent report by the European Commission for failing to tackle corruption and organized crime.
A report last month by the Romanian branch of Transparency International said there has been a national failing grade in the test of resistance to corruption.
The sentences come one mother after courts sentenced former Prime Minister Adrian Natase to two years in prison for corruption. After a three year trial, Natase was convicted at the end of January for embezzling US$2.1 million in government funds that were funneled to his 2004 election campaign.