Corruption remains significant problem in Romania – EC anti-corruption report

By bne IntelliNews February 4, 2014

Despite some positive results in the prosecution of high level corruption cases and the good practice of the anti-corruption prosecution office DNA, corruption at low, middle and top levels remains a significant problem in Romania, the EC said in its first Anti-Corruption Report.

The Commission recommends that Romania continues investigations in high-level cases, develops comprehensive codes of conduct for elected officials, strengthens prevention and control mechanisms with regard to public procurement and public contracts, increases the efficiency of prevention and detection of conflicts of interest among public officials, strengthens safeguards when it comes to allocation of public funding and carries out strategies to reduce corruption in healthcare.

Going into details, the situation seems even worse – with a special note on the public procurement procedures and in general on the use of public money. While the legislative framework for public procurement is in place, Romania's national public procurement system is hampered by numerous irregularities, conflicts of interest and high corruption risks, the Commission concludes.

As shown by a number of external audits, as well as surveys and studies, the Romanian national public procurement system is hampered by numerous irregularities, conflicts of interest and high corruption risks, the EC’s report stresses. An Electronic Public Procurement System (SEAP) is in place, but challenges remain as to its effective functioning.

The most recent CVM reports also stressed that a very limited progress was made in the prevention and sanctioning of corruption in public procurement.

Conflicts of interest and favouritism appear to be among the most recurrent problems in the allocation and spending of public money (including EU funds) both at central and at local levels, while current prevention and control mechanisms are difficult to enforce or not sufficiently dissuasive. While conflict of interest is a criminal offense under the Romanian law, prosecution services have long been reluctant to prosecute such cases. Recently they have become more active.

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