Bulgaria’s National Assembly voted on September 21 to approve the second and final reading of anti-corruption legislation that divides the existing commission for combating corruption and confiscation of illegally acquired property into two bodies.
There will be a new Commission for Combating Corruption, which will have three members, elected for a six-year term by MPs on the basis of a two-thirds majority.
The bill intends that this election will take place three months after the law is promulgated.
Each of the members will rotate as the head of the commission, holding the office for two years each.
To be eligible for election to membership of the commission, a candidate must have a degree in law or economics, as well as seven years of relevant experience or seven years service in the security services.
Candidates will be heard by a five-member nomination committee, the members of which will be from the Supreme Court of Cassation, the Supreme Bar Council, the Justice Ministry, the office of the Ombudsman and the National Audit Office. The committee will present to Parliament its evaluation of the candidates.
The Commission for Countering Corruption will have a special directorate for Counter-Corruption mandated with detecting and investigating holders of public office suspected of involvement in corruption.
The existing body will be renamed the Commission for Confiscation of Illegally Acquired Property.
Members of the existing body will perform the functions of both new bodies until the Commission for Combating Corruption is elected, after which they will continue in office as the Commission for Confiscation of Illegally Acquired Property.
The Bulgarian Parliament’s adoption of the amendments to the legislation on the anti-corruption platform is a key element of conditions for the country to be granted a further nine billion leva under the Recovery and Resilience Plan, funds to be used to tranform and modernise the country’s economy.
The September 21 conclusion of voting on the legislation followed second-reading debating and voting of the bill that took several hours at a number of sittings of Parliament this week, with numerous amendments to the bill. The bill largely will enter into force when promulgated, with the exception of amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code that will take effect from March 1 2024.
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