Bulgarian prosecutors indict mayor of Plovdiv over zoo project

Bulgaria’s prosecutor’s office said on January 10 that it has charged Ivan Totev, mayor of Bulgaria’s second largest city of Plovdiv, with mismanagement in connection to an investigation into the construction of a new zoo in the city.

The prosecution’s statement said that Totev exceeded his authority by directly negotiating with the chosen subcontractor instead of calling a public procurement tender. Additionally, Totev allegedly broke the law by starting the negotiations without an approved investment decision on the project, nor a cost-benefit analysis, a compliance with regulations report or a construction permit.

Doing so resulted in financial damages of one million leva, or about 511 000 euro, for Plovdiv city hall. The prosecutors allege that Totev’s actions were wilful and meant to benefit the subcontractor company.

The investigation began in November 2016, with Prosecutor-General approving the transfer of the case from the Plovdiv district prosecution to Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office, but the prosecution statement gave no reasons for the switch.

Bulgarian National Radio quoted Totev saying that he had “no reasons to worry”, but he declined further comment, saying that the investigation against him had not concluded yet.

Construction of Plovdiv’s new zoo started in November 2014, with costs estimated at that time at 4.5 million leva. The zoo has been closed since 2008 because of the poor conditions for animals, with the new zoo being built on the site of the previous one.

(Ivan Totev. Photo: podtepeto.com)



The Sofia Globe staff

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