Bulgaria Culture Minister Exposes Draining, 'Turkish Theaters'

Domestic | November 12, 2009, Thursday // 15:45|  views

Bulgaria's Culture Minister Rashidov has exposed large-scale violations of the administration of his predecessor, renown actor Stefan Danailov from the Socialist Party. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Culture Minister, Vezhdi Rashidov, presented Thursday his report for his first 100 days in office, including the results from inspections of the previous administration.

“A lot of money have been siphoned off from the cultural institutions from around the country such as theaters, which had been turned into “gray companies”, Rashidov explained.

A huge number of violations have been uncovered with respect to contracts for the repair of the buildings of cultural institutions, where usually much larger sums were spent than the market value. One example is the repair of the National Art Gallery.

“A donation of EUR 48 000 had been received for the renovation of 300 square meters on the top floor of the gallery. The money was specifically given for that job. In addition, BGN 140 000 were demanded from the Ministry for the same purpose. Our audit showed that BGN 60 000 were enough to get the job done. Where is the other money?” Rashidov said.

Another type of huge violations had to do with the leasing of property of cultural institutions around the country for ridiculously small sums of money.

Grave violations have been uncovered in what Rashidov called “Turkish theaters”, i.e. the theaters in the regions dominated by the ethnic Turkish party DPS (“Movement for Rights and Freedoms”), which was one of the three parties of the former governing coalition.

“For example, in one of those theaters we found that 76 people are on the payroll, that is a huge budget with no income whatsoever. There were only a couple of performances. At the same time, there was an amateur dancing troupe of 25 people whose only function was to dance “kyuchek” (i.e.Turkish belly dancing) upon the arrival of the DPS activists. The director was drunk all the time, and did nothing. He appointed his wife, his son, who is underage, his aunt, and several of his cousins to positions at the theater. What a wild gang, a?” declared Minister Rashidov, who is a renown Bulgarian sculptor of ethnic Turkish origin.

The Chief Secretary of the Culture Ministry, Stoyan Stoyanov, explained that the results from all of the audits carried out in the last three months had already been submitted to the Agency for State Financial Inspection, and from there they would go to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Among the successful projects of his first 100 days in office, Culture Minister Rashidov pointed to the optimization of the staff and the number of institutions within the Ministry, and the adoption of a new Working Rules Statutes.

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Tags: Culture Minister, Vezhdi Rashidov, draining, DPS, ethnic Turkish, Turkish theaters, repair, violations, abuses, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, theater


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