Covid-19 in Bulgaria: Probe into 100M leva orders by previous government

Continuing inspections of the actions of the previous leadership of the Ministry of Health in response to the Covid-19 crisis had found “numerous violations,” Deputy Health Minister Dimitar Petrov said in a television interview on June 14.

Preliminary data showed that contracts for respirators and personal protective equipment were concluded directly with Chinese and South Korean companies “without any coordination”.

He said that there was evidence of substandard items having been purchased, such as part of the respirators.

Some contracts had no penalty clauses, there were overdue deliveries and unnecessary things like Chloroquine were bought from China, he said. Bulgaria had sufficient quantities from donations and the items purchased were not used, and were likely to expire, Petrov said.

The inspection would establish whether there had been abuses, and the matter would “probably” be sent to the Prosecutor’s Office, he said.

“The orders made during this period were for more than 100 million leva (about 51.1 million euro). Some of them, from 2021, were done in a relatively normal way,” Petrov said.

He said that the same matter was also being investigated by the Chief Directorate for Combating Organised Crime.

Bulgaria’s Health Ministry said on May 28 that caretaker Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov had ordered an investigation by the National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD) into the handling of the Covid-19 crisis by the former government and the now-disbanded national operational headquarters.

Katsarov had given the NCIPD 30 days to analyse activities related to public health services between March 1 2020 and May 31 2021 in the context of the epidemic caused by Covid-19, the ministry said.

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.

The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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