Bulgarian Police to Revamp Donations with 'Few Exceptions'

Domestic | August 12, 2011, Friday // 14:54|  views

Deputy Interior Minister, Veselin Vuchkov, says it would be acceptable to allow municipalities to continue to "encourage" local police precincts with fuel donations. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

The Interior Ministry will no longer accept donations from private businesses and individuals after the institution's head, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, signs an order in the beginning of next week.

The few exceptions will include the local municipalities and some State-owned companies, Deputy Interior Minister, Veselin Vuchkov, announced Friday.

The European Commission condemned the corrupt donation practice in its report on Bulgaria under the cooperation and verification mechanism, causing Prime Minister Borisov to pledge that the occurrence would be eradicated. In an interview last week, however, Tsvetanov specified that donations would be phased out gradually, rather than rooted out at once.

Just two days ago, European Commission Spokesperson Mark Gray, once again, condemned the practice of Bulgaria's Interior Ministry of accepting donations.

"Each donation to the Interior Ministry is unacceptable, be it money or any kind of material valuables", Gray told Bulgarian Sega daily on August 10.

Tsvetanov initially refused to admit that the practice was reprehensible, saying that the Interior had not entered into any commitments in exchange for the donations which were thank-you gifts for a job well-done.

On August 8th, Sega wrote that the Bulgarian Interior Ministry has set a new record of donations, collecting another BGN 9 M in the second quarter of 2011.

The new funds, received under the form of donations from the country and abroad, collected on the backdrop of a global crisis, bring the total amount for the first half of the year to BGN 15.5 M with BGN 6.5 M from the first quarter of 2011, Sega pointed out.

Deputy Interior Minister, Dimitar Georgiev, immediately countered that for the first half of 2011, the Ministry had received BGN 15 270 925 from EU funds, but the money has been listed as donations, assuring all donors are subject to careful and detailed checks and have to sign a declaration that they don't have a criminal record.

At the time, Tsvetanov, further stressed speculations surrounding donations to the police are just part of the smearing election campaign, saying some media "serve particular political and business interests."

"We will have radical developments in the issue Monday or Tuesday, after the Minister returns from vacation. This practice has many moral deficits. It would be, however, acceptable to allow municipalities to continue to "encourage" local police precincts with fuel, but destined only for patrol cars. We can think of 2-3 more such exceptions, but no more – like institutions similar to the Interior Ministry, or services from abroad to donate technical equipment under special clauses," Vuchkov said Friday.

It was reported meanwhile that the Interior Ministry is set to file a Court claim against traffic police officer, Konstantin Ivanov, who revealed the umbrella policy of the institution towards traffic violations committed by its donors. Ivanov was recently forced to resign from his job with the Sofia Police Directorate.

Vuchkov further reported Friday that by the end of the year amendments to the Interior Ministry Act will be submitted with the Parliament, aiming at reducing cases of police brutality.

Police is also to create a network of teachers to counter hate crimes and excessive use of police force.

The Deputy Interior Minister promised improvement of the conditions in Bulgarian prisons and other detention facilities.  He presented the new building of the Sofia Directorate of the Unit for Combatting Organized Crime, where there are modern interrogation rooms, prison cells, and specially equipped places for storage of evidence. Investigators have received over 1 000 new computers while thousands more are to get them in the near future.

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Tags: Deputy Interior Minister, Veselin Vuchkov, exeptions, Bulgarian, police, donations, record, traffic police, traffic violation, traffic, ticket, interior ministry, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Boyko Borisov, donations, European Commission, cooperation and verification mechanism, Konstantin Ivanov, court, magistrates, Dimitar Georgiev, Sega, Konstantin Ivanov, European Commission, Mark Gray, cooperation and verification mechanism, donations


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