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16:47    |    18/04/2010

ANI is dead. Long live ANI!

The Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that the National Integrity Agency (ANI) is working unconstitutionally. Several articles in the law on ANI’s activity are inconsistent, it said. One can argue ANI has been useless. After all, its role hasn’t been understood properly by those working within, not to talk about ordinary people.

ANI was only ‘ringing the bell’ when differences where registered between the officials’ wealth statements and real wealth and when incompatibility was at stake  But ANI did not carry the needed inquiries, all it did was to announce the public opinion after receiving such differences noticed mainly by the media. Even ANI’s president, Catalin Macovei, was an unpopular character. Several months ago he had been involved in the scandal of recordings with two well-known journalists, who were trying to put pressure on him on several files.

ANI is the only institution of this kind in Europe.It may be true it has been working poorly, but at least officials were not feeling at large. Someone was there to check their wealth. This is one of the reasons for which ANI had lots of enemies, politicians especially but other officials as well (magistrates, civil servants, etc.). Now they seem very glad ANI is on the brink of demise. It looks like the ANI’ enemies were coming even from the Constitutional Court.

One of the central newspapers reported on Saturday that seven of the Constitutional Court judges are allegedly incompatible with their offices as they have undeclared accounts or they are shareholders with private companies, against the statute of the magistrate! ANI representatives say the Constitutional Court’s decision was secretly adopted so that ANI should not have any way to defend itself.

Meanwhile, the Emil Boc government is looking for ways to support ANI for further functioning, although it could not restore its entire power. The cabinet is considering issuing an emergency ordinance. The ministers are not in love with ANI, some of them openly criticized the institution. But it is obvious that by supporting the institution it would get the electorate’s sympathy in a period of time when the executive’s popularity is dropping due to the domestic economic situation.

In the meantime, we are waiting for the Constitutional Court’s explanations on the ruling. Whatever this one might be, ANI is dead. On the other hand the government is trying to resuscitate it a little bit. Long live a weaker ANI! Many will be very happy that such an institution has been castrated, if not dead.


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cu George Grigoriu
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