Bulgaria to Report Irregularities in EU Funded Projects to OLAF

Bulgaria in EU | November 16, 2013, Saturday // 17:35|  views

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

Bulgaria will notify the EU anti-fraud office and the prosecuting authority about irregularities under the "Environment" Operational Program.

In a Saturday interview for the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR), Justice Minister Zinaida Zlatanova explained that she had become aware of the extent of the problem as late as October, stressing that the managing authority of the program had deliberately hushed up the issue, failing to report it to her and to the Environment Minister.

On Friday it emerged that the European Commission would freeze EU funding earmarked for Bulgaria over suspicions of abuse in awarding public procurement contracts under the "Environment" OP.

"The maximum period during which we should cope with the problems under the "Environment" OP is six months" she said, adding that measures aimed at remedying the situation were already underway.

Zlatanova made clear that the audit authority had sent instructions to the managing bodies to change the audit approach.

The Justice Minister announced that a set of instructions on the strict observance of the Public Procurement Act would be issued, with an emphasis on recurring weaknesses identified by the municipalities and other beneficiaries.

She noted that Bulgaria would report the matter to OLAF, as Bulgaria was under obligation to report to the EU anti-fraud office in cases of discrepancies of over EUR 10 000, and also to the national prosecuting authority.

"From now on, I will report any problem which surfaces in the sphere of EU funds management, especially deliberate mistakes in public procurement, because in 90% of the cases this seems to be the biggest problem with EU funds management," Zlatanova argued.

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Tags: Zinaida Zlatanova, EU funding, Environment Minister, operational program, OLAF, frozen EU funds


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