Bulgaria’s Cabinet has approved a draft bill that envisions the creation of a new body to fight high-level corruption, the government’s media service said on June 17.
The new bureau for preventing corruption would be set up by merging the government’s existing commission on preventing conflict interest, the Borkor centre for preventing corruption and organised crime, as well as the National Audit Office’s directorate tasked with checking asset declarations.
Its chief would be nominated by the Cabinet and appointed by presidential decree, but it is unclear whether the bureau would act as an independent body or be subordinated to the government, as is the case with Borkor and the commission on preventing conflict of interest.
The new bill envisions expanding the number of government officials that will have to file annual asset declarations, as well as the scope of such filings, but government’s statement did not say what additional investigative powers – if any – the new body would have.
Boiko Borissov’s GERB has a patchy anti-corruption record – although Borkor was set up during Borissov’s previous term as prime minister, the body has been criticised as inefficient after it produced only one report with recommendations to fight corruption after three years of existence.
Meanwhile, the former head of the commission on preventing conflict of interest – Filip Zlatanov, appointed under GERB – was handed a three-and-a-half years sentence in 2014 on charges of abuse of power, following allegations that he used his position to follow “political directives” concerning which commission investigations he should delay and those that should be pursued more actively.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)