COVID vaccine purchases: Romanian president approves investigation of former health ministers
Former health ministers Vlad Voiculescu and Ioana Mihaila can be investigated in the case targeting the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic. On Monday, November 27, president Klaus Iohannis submitted to justice minister Alina Gorghiu the requests to initiate criminal proceedings against the two former government officials.
According to the official announcement from the Presidential Administration, the Prosecutor's Office attached to the High Court of Justice has also been notified about these requests.
Also on Monday, former prime minister and current senator Florin Citu, who is also facing charges of abuse of office in the same case, said he would ask his colleagues in Parliament to vote for lifting his immunity, Digi24 reported. This step is necessary for the prosecutors to be able to investigate the former PM.
Following the Presidential Administration's announcement, Ioana Mihaila said in a post on social media that she decided to suspend herself from the position of member of the REPER National Bureau. "I have always done my work honestly, respecting the law and the public interest. I trust that a fair and transparent investigation will prove these things," reads the message.
Anticorruption prosecutors asked the Senate and the Presidential Administration to lift the immunity and allow the investigation of former prime minister Florin Citu and former health ministers Vlad Voiculescu and Ioana Mihaila for charges of abuse of office, as the three allegedly contracted significantly more COVID-19 vaccine doses than necessary in January-May 2021. This resulted in EUR 1 billion damage to the state budget.
All three officials denied wrongdoing in this case and said they trusted the justice procedures to uncover the truth.
Liberal Florin Citu was prime minister for almost a year, from December 2020 to November 2021, and is currently a senator. Vlad Voiculescu was minister of health between December 2020 and April 2021, succeeded by Ioana Mihaila, who led the ministry until September 2021.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea)