Bulgarian Right Wing Alarms of Looming EU Funds Freeze

Bulgaria in EU | November 9, 2010, Tuesday // 15:23|  views

Right-wing UDF leader, Martin Dimitrov, speaks at the Tuesday press conference dedicated to alleged wide-spread conflict of interests at the Agriculture Fund. Photo by BGNES

The EU anti-fraud office OLAF is carrying out new probes at Bulgaria's State Fund Agriculture over conflict of interests, the right-wing Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) informs.

In a Tuesday press conference the party distributed information about family and friendly ties in the Fund that could lead to a new freezing of EU funding, and asked for the dismissal of Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov. Another reason stated is the fact people close to the ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) are still part of the institution's top management.

UDF revealed that Deputy Agriculture Minister Svetlana Boyanova's husband is the Head of the Fund's Legal Department while she is also a former Director of the Farmers' Association and consultant for part of the projects that have applied for EU financing.

Boyanova's predecessor at the post, Preslav Borisov, resigned earlier precisely over conflict of interests after it was announced his father is one of the top grain growers in Bulgaria.

The recently appointed new Director of the Fund, Svetoslav Simeonov, was hired as Department Head there by DPS, UDF remind. Simeonov, on his part, has hired a close friend from college as Department Head.

The Director of the Fund's Administration, Hristo Lambov, had been secretary and advisor of the last DPS Director of the Fund, Alizan Yahova, while the two Deputy Directors are also from DPS.

The Head of the Public Procurement Department there, Elise Ferihad Rushid, is Yahova's first cousin. She was fired by the Fund's former Director, Kalina Ilieva, who was recently dismissed after giving birth and failing to inform the Agriculture Minister of her pregnancy. Rushid sued and won and was reinstated on Simeonov's order before the defense council could file an appeal.

An auditor, the Head of Human Resources, and the Head of the Investment Crediting Department have also been hired by DPS, all according to UDF information.

The right-wing points out the Fund has absorbed only 9% of all EU resources slated for Bulgaria, but its employees still receive double the wages of other State servants.

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Tags: conflict of interests, EU funds, UDF, Miroslav Naydenov, Svetoslav Simeonov, Kalina Ilieva, State Fund Agriculture, OLAF, DPS


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