Bulgarian prosecutors press charges against outgoing Health Minister

Bulgaria’s prosecutor’s office said on November 21 that it has pressed charges against outgoing Health Minister Petar Moskov in relation to a vaccines barter deal with Turkey in 2015.

Under that deal, Bulgaria donated about one million vaccines against tuberculosis, and in exchange received about 100 000 complex vaccines against children’s diseases.

The prosecutors accuse Moskov and outgoing Deputy Health Minister Adam Persenski, whose portfolio at the ministry included vaccines, of two counts of mismanagement, which caused the Bulgarian state financial damages estimated at about 524 000 leva (or about 268 000 euro).

Moskov is accused of overstepping his authority by asking a state-owned pharmaceutical company that made the vaccines to donate them to Turkey, thus avoiding paying the production costs.

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with prosecutors, Moskov said that the vaccines deal was done in order to ensure that the children’s immunisations in Bulgaria proceeded on schedule at a time when the country was experiencing a shortage of necessary vaccines.

He said that the prosecutors did not take into account that while the cost of vaccines donated to Turkey was 400 000 leva, the ones Bulgaria received in exchange were worth four million leva.

Separately, Moskov is charged with failure to exercise oversight over the same state-owned pharmaceutical company in an unrelated case, in which the firm produced tetanus vaccines for a Turkish firm that were later slated for destruction.

(Photo: Brian Hoskins/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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