Bulgarian Justice Minister Recommends In-Depth Probe of Conflict-of-Interest Commission

Domestic | July 31, 2013, Wednesday // 14:59|  views

Bulgaria's Justice Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Zinaida Zlatanova, photo by BGNES

Bulgarian Justice Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Zinaida Zlatanova has recommended a comprehensive inspection of the activity of the Commission on Prevention and Ascertainment of Conflict of Interest (CPACI) due to the scandal in which its former Chair was involved.

On July 17, Bulgaria's prosecuting authority pressed charges of malfeasance in office against CPACI Chair Filip Zlatanov.

Zlatanov was removed from the post and an appeals court confirmed the motion.

He is said to have received instructions about accelerating, delaying or concealing conflict of interest proceedings.

A personal notebook of Zlatanov mentioning names like Bulgarian President Rosen "Plevneliev, E.D., MP of GERB, I.F., B.B., and Ts. Ts." made headlines, causing Iskra Fidosova a key lawmaker from opposition center-right GERB party, to quit Parliament.

"Nothing about the Commission seems to be right. It seems that it will turn out that nothing is ok there. Note that this is the watchdog which is supposed to inspect us – ministers, MPs, people holding high public office – and to report to you, citizens, what we are doing, how we are doing our job, whether we are involved in cases of conflict of interest or not," Zlatanova declared in an interview for Wednesday's morning broadcast of TV7.

Referring to Zlatanov's case, she said that such behavior was inadmissible for CPACI officials.

She went on to say that the upcoming report of the European Commission on Bulgaria's progress in the spheres of justice and home affairs would most probably contain substantial criticism over the wiretapping scandals.

Commenting on the ongoing anti-government protests in the country, she argued that the rallies were good for the Cabinet.

"This type of civic pressure helps any government - it makes us work more and more carefully. Had there been such pressure over the previous government, it would have been prevented from making many of the mistakes it made," she said.

She was adamant that the government was ready for talks with anybody.

Zlatanova, as cited by Sega daily, informed that Ana Karaivanova, Chief Inspector at the Inspectorate within the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS), whose term in office expired in 2012, would be replaced by end-2013.

She reiterated her forecast that Bulgaria was very likely to lose EU funding over inappropriate spending, adding "the thing is not to lose too much."

Zlatanova emphasized that the current government had given a significant boost to EU funds absorption, adding that a total of BGN 450 M had been paid out in June and July only, compared to a total of BGN 850 M paid out in the period January – May, when the center-right GERB government and the caretaker government were in office.

She claimed that if the government had absorbed EU funding at the current pace in the beginning of 2013, a total of around BGN 1 B would have been paid out in the first quarter.

Zlatanova emphasized that the Cabinet of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski would give priority to education and healthcare.

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Tags: Zinaida Zlatanova, Justice Minister, Co-operation and Verification Mechanism, progress report, justice and home affairs, wiretapping scandal, Commission on Prevention and Ascertainment of Conflict of Interest, CPACI, Filip Zlatanov, malfeasance, GERB, Plamen Oresharski, protests, anti-government, Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP


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