Cristina Țărnă: Corruption is sin of those who rule


The fight against corruption is the area where society has the biggest expectations. The people expect those who are corrupt to be jailed and justice to be done by recovering the stolen funds and by holding those to blame accountable, said expert in corruption fighting Cristina Țarnă, ex-vice director of the National Anticorruption Center (NAC). In an interview for IPN, Cristina Țărnă said she left the National Anticorruption Center with the feeling that she did her job and contributed to the modification of the legal framework, but also dissatisfied as a citizen.

As vice director in charge of corruption prevention, she worked on a set of laws, such as the implementation of the law on testing of professional integrity. “I could not influence the area that counted the most for the people, but I think the prevention of corruption is not less important. In any intelligent state, the prevention mechanisms are much more important. As in the case of a disease, it is much more important to prevent it than to cure it,” stated Cristina Țărnă.

She noted the Crime Assets Recovery Agency was created and this has sequestrated property worth billions of lei, which is a good indicator. Even if it’s not enough – until the confiscated money is not seen – the volume of sequestrated property grew considerably after the agency was founded.

Another result derived from the first studies carried out to see how the judges impose penalties for acts of corruption. “When I warned about this very clear thing for the first time in 2013, drastic recommendations from the Supreme Court followed, as to how the courts of law should not act in the future. The first convictions with real jail terms followed. Until then, no one had been jailed for corruption. This analytical work combined with the dissemination of results somehow managed to create frustration among those who directed the judicial system, to influence the unification of the practice and the removal of those shameful examples when everything possible was done to attenuate the situation of corrupt persons.

The National Anticorruption Center is an institution that should be independent and should not depend on the political agenda. “Every time there is no serious division inside the government, the NAC adjusts itself and becomes less visible. Corruption is the sin of those who rule. When those who rule have great power, the NAC regrettably does not oppose and does not create problems to itself and this is a big disappointment,” said the former vice director of the NAC.

According to Cristina Țărnă, the election campaigns are another problem. The anticorruption agencies become more active right before the elections so as to create a heroic background to the rulers and to look for sins either in the former governments or in the opposition, but less in the government. Immediately after the elections, they keep silent again.

The expert noted a number of national bodies of which the people have legitimate expectations and that should be independent adjust themselves to the political factor. There are two solutions here. The first solution is to have politicians with sufficient uprightness who can resist the ongoing investigations, would not become involved and would not attack the law enforcement agencies and justice when they do their job. The second important factor is the resistance, the courage from inside that should come from these institutions, first of all from the top person who manages them because the others are behind this person. The dissemination of the achievements is also important as it is not enough to only do one’s job.

“One should be able to speak about this as only this way public support can be obtained and protection from political influence is built simultaneously because it will be very hard for a politician to attack an anticorruption institution when this enjoys public support,” stated Cristina  Țărnă.

The interview was produced in the framework of IPN News Agency’s project “Injustice Revealed through the Multimedia”. The video variant can be seen here.