Saturday, November 24, 2012

I vote for N.A.D.

Is this a new political party or something? No, N.A.D. stands for National Anti-corruption Department and it's much better known by the Romanian acronym DNA. Eu votez DNA! (I vote for NAD!) is a book written by Cristian Ghinea, a social activist and contributor at the most prestigious Romanian weekly newspaper, Dilema Veche. Ten years ago Cristian Ghinea coordinated an issue of Dilema on anti-corruption and he remembers that there was not much to tell about it: Romania was a corrupted society, but without any corrupts. Police and judicial system were prosecuting only small cases, but no big fish was even questioned. In fact, although there are some legendary figures on making justice in our history, like Vlad the Impaler, in the modern history of Romania (since Cuza and king Carol I) no big fish was ever convicted for corruption charges, although there were many scandalous stories uncovered in that era too (you can read in Romanian about a few examples here and here). Politicians in Romania had de facto immunity from the judicial system, a better word being impunity. But in the last 8 years DNA became a feared enemy. They prosecuted members of the parliament and of the cabinet from all major political parties, mayors, judges and attorneys, police men, army generals and even soccer referees and club owners for fixing soccer games. And they also have an impressive success rate with about 90% convictions of the prosecuted cases. You can imagine that most of the politicians are not happy about this, biased media outlets constantly unleash attacks on this institution, so this book is even more remarkable for describing an inside story about DNA with interviews with some attorneys and other interesting commentaries.

In the end I should note that DNA was created at the request of the European Union during the accession negotiations between Romania and E.U. There are a couple of benefits for Romania from being an E.U. member country, including money received for various development projects, but I think the creation of this agency is the best thing that happened to Romania due to E.U. influence. That's why I also vote for N.A.D.!
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