Romania’s High Prosecution Office is understood to have launched an investigation into the former government’s planned purchase of multi-role warships from Damen shipyards for €1.6bn.
In March this year, Romania’s new government cancelled the decision by former Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos to buy the four multi-role warships.
The decision to buy the warships taken last year by Ciolos during the electoral campaign last autumn did not observe the mandatory requirements of receiving preliminary approval from lawmakers for procurement contracts exceeding €100mn. It was publicly questioned at that time due to the quick endorsement (by the government) and lack of details on the deal. However, Ciolos rejected the accusations claiming that his government had sent the documents to parliament.
Prosecutors have now asked the parliament to provide the documents submitted last year by former Defence Minister Mihnea Motoc in connection to the deal, hotnews.ro reported on June 12. Prosecutors mention a criminal investigation (file 133/P/2017) into the case.
An investigation by Hotnews revealed, on June 12, that senate head Calin Popescu Tariceanu refused to discuss the government’s request and put the deal on hold. After the parliamentary elections, the ruling coalition reportedly did not discuss the request sent by the former government and the deal was re-started in March by the new government, but it now has an uncertain outlook.
Defence Minister Gabriel Les announced at the end of the March 16 government meeting that acquisition procedures would soon be resumed. Les said that the warships will be built in Romania, but not necessarily at the same shipyard as indicated in the framework contract signed by the previous government. There will be competitive negotiations with prospective suppliers, he stated. The talks will start within a month and a half, after the necessary permits are obtained from lawmakers.
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