Plovdiv Regional Court on July 14 order central district mayor Raina Petrova removed from office pending her trial in connection with alleged irregularities in granting contracts on the supply of food to kindergartens and nurseries.
District prosecutor Roumen Popov asked for Petrova to be removed from office to prevent her interfering with the investigation and with witnesses, said to be about 50 in number.
The district court’s ruling is subject to appeal within a deadline of three days.
The hearing was behind closed doors, with evidence including classified information from the State Agency for National Security. The lawyer for Petrova, Krassimir Eldarov, earlier asked for an adjournment to examine the evidence. The court granted a 20-minute adjournment.
Allegations are that Petrova accepted a 10 000 leva holiday in Thailand and a 4000 leva consulting fee from a Plovdiv company, Nadezhda 2000.
Plovdiv mayor Ivan Totev has declined to comment on the case but reportedly has ordered an investigation into contracts awarded by Petrova.
Petrova was taken into custody on July 9 in a joint operation by the district prosecutor’s office and the State Agency for National Security.
She was reported to be facing charges of malfeasance in office and influence peddling. The 47-year-old district mayor reportedly signed two contracts with Nadezhda 2000, owned by Nadezhda Mincheva.
One contract was for 1.35 million leva for providing food to kindergartens in Plovdiv’s central district. Another was for the supply of food to nurseries and amounted to 376 000 leva.
Allegedly, the food supplied included expired food, at exorbitant prices. Local media said that the expired food included rancid fish that was a danger to the health of children.
Reports said that the Petrova’s daughter, Daniela Draganova, had a partnership with Mincheva in the Olympia 2011 company. Draganova is said by prosecutors to have accompanied her mother on the holiday in Thailand.
If found guilty, Petrova could face prison of one to eight years.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)