Bulgaria with 33 000 Decares of Scandalous Land Swap DealsDomestic | August 3, 2009, Monday // 12:30| views
Forestry Agency head Georgi Kostov (right) pictured here with new Agriculture Ministry Naydenov (right). Photo by BGNES
Since 2003 the former Bulgarian governments have carried out scandalous land swap deals encompassing a total area of 33 000 decares worth billions of BGN.
This was announced Monday morning by Professor Georgi Kostov, the newly appointed head of the State Forestry Agency.
"Swapping one forest plot of land for another is one thing, swapping an expensive plot of land on the sea coast for a forest plot in the interior of the country is a totally different matter", Kostov told the bTV channel describing in a nutshell how Article 15 of the Forestry Act allowed his predecessor to allow swap deals with state lands.
Kostov said imposing a moratorium on all land swap deals would be a "stupid" thing to do because this would also block many land swap deals that are actually beneficial to society.
He said he was going to have a meeting with environmentalist movements later on Monday in order to figure out a formula to work together with them in preserving the state-owned forests.
"We can't talk only about Stefan Yurukov (Kostov's predecessor) here but also about the person before him, and the people above them. There was clearly a political pressure for carrying out certain land swap deals. This can be revealed when we check the deal files, and see which ones have been made," Kostov said.
In his words, the 47 land swap deals that Yurukov sealed in January 2009, just days before the Forestry Act was changed to forbid that were "not the most scandalous ones in terms of their value".
"Every single ones of those deals with public lands is scandalous from a moral and societal point of view. We are talking about billions of BGN with these 33 000 decares here", Kostov said making it clear that the regional Forestry Directorates were starting inspections of these deals that would probably take a very long time to complete because many of the plots in question were later re-sold in smaller plots by their new owners.
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