Breaches of Procurement practices in Bulgaria

A simple article outlines examples of high-officials pressure during Evaluation phase in Tenders. The fact outlined happened over tenders for EU agricultural and other funds.

 

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Bulgaria’s Deputy AgriMin Probed for Abuse of EU Funds

 January 9, 2013, Wednesday

Bulgaria’s Deputy Agriculture MinisterSvetlana Boyanova, has been investigated by the Main Inspectorate at the Council of Ministers for violations in the use of EU funds.

The information was reported Wednesday by the Bulgarian news agency BGNES, citing documents from the probe and its conclusions, provided to the journalists from the media.

The agency further reports the probe has been initiated by Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, while the conclusions span on 10 pages. They involve Boyanova’s work as the person assigned by Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, to oversee the “Rural Areas Development” Directorate, and strategies for BGN millions.

The tipoff has been received on November 4, 2011, and has been sent by Margaritka Astradzhieva, a Deputy Chair of the Committee for the Assessment of Local Strategies, with a copy to the EU anti-fraud office OLAF.

According to the tipoff, Boyanova and her team made attempts to interfere in the work of the Committee by pressuring them to provide information on the assessments and on their decisions.

The tipoff further claims that in June, 2011, Demina Bayraktarska, the Chair of the Committee, has been summoned in the office of the Deputy Agriculture Ministerand has been questioned on concrete applications – if they had been approved and if they would receive financing.

The answers have been negative and two days later, Naydenov has issued an order for the replacement of the Committee’s team, including Bayraktarska, Astradzhieva and several members. Another order of Naydenov, signed by Boyanova, has mandated a second assessment of the said applications with Boyanova being the person controlling the execution of the order.

Astradzhieva insists the second assessment aimed at manipulating the results. No sanctions are pending against Boyanova, one year after the tipoff and after the probe has proved that the allegations were true. The results have been simply sent to the Agriculture Ministry with a request to fix the “wrongdoings.”

Similar breaches of procedure are witnessed on EU funded project in structures of the Ministry of Justice in Bulgaria. Again Controlling person of the Evaluation commission was changed at the state owner Registry Agency to the Ministry of Justice. In 2011 a long waited IT System tender has been announced by the Project Leader as a tender controlling person. At the time the evaluation committee due to start work, the Executive Director of the Agency at that time Mrs. Nikolova in 2011 changed the controlling person with one, not involved in the project. The new person was closely instructed by Mrs. Nikolova for the selection of proposals. At the same time the letter of the Project Leader to the Deputy Minister of Justice for potential breaches in this change was not forwarded to the Managing Authority and the Project Leader was put under pressure not to disseminate the information about these deeds of the Agency’s director. As an outcome of the ”secured evaluation” the Tender evaluation prolonged more than 8 months, and was returned twice for re-evaluation. And resulted EURO 40 000 financial corrections from the EU funds managing authorities for  evaluation breaches.

If such breaches are tolerated from Ministry of Justice itself and EU Agricultural Managing Authority, what to say about corruption and breaches in procurement procedures upon Bulgarian lower administrative levels.

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