Probe by Bulgaria’s caretaker government finds irregularities in public procurements

A two-week investigation ordered by Bulgaria’s caretaker Prime Minister Ognyan Gerdzhikov has found irregularities in a number of public procurements handled by the previous government, the largest number at the Ministry of Defence.

Gerdzhikov told a news conference on February 17 that the full report on the inspections would be published on February 20. He ordered his Cabinet to carry out the investigation in all ministries on January 30.

There were no major irregularities in public procurements carried out by some of the ministries, including those of finance, transport, youth and sport, environment and water, social policy, tourism, education and energy.

There were isolated cases of administrative and technical gaps that generally do not affect the legality of the procedures performed for procurement. Where irregularities had been found, reports are being sent to the relevant authorities for further action.

At the Defence Ministry, there were 113 public procurement procedures in 2016. Thirty-one had been discontinued and of the remaining 82, irregularities had been found in 45. Of this latter figure, there were indications of fraud and other serious offences, and the Military Prosecutor’s Office had been alerted, Gerdzhikov said.

At the Road Infrastructure Agency, irregularities had been found in a public procurement regarding Hemus Motorway in 2015, including regarding procurement procedures related to the Echemishka, Vitniya, Topli Dol and Praveshki Han tunnels. Earlier in February 2017, the Echemishka tunnel was the site of a fatal accident in which a woman died when the car in which she was travelling was hit by a falling light fitting.

At the Economy Ministry, clauses were found in tenders that allegedly swayed the conditions in favour of certain bidders.

At the Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises, violations were found in the form of the conduct of procedures without competition.

At the Agriculture and Food Ministry, there had been delays in starting procedures, with failure raising the risk of a suspension of European Union funds, the news conference was told.




The Sofia Globe staff

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