Bulgarian Government Reviews New Version of Anti-Corruption Bill
At its regular meeting on Wednesday, the Bulgarian government discussed the edited version of the anti-corruption bill.
The draft law on prevention of corruption and confiscation of unlawfully acquired property will be presented on Wednesday to MPs from the two parties constituting the ruling coalition and the two parties supporting the coalition government.
The draft law foresees the establishment of a united anti-corruption body – national bureau for preventing corruption and confiscating unlawfully acquired property.
It will unite four existing bodies – the Commission for Prevention and Ascertainment of Conflict of Interest, the Commission for confiscation of illegally acquired assets, the Centre for Prevention and Countering Corruption and Organised Crime (BORKOR) and the unit in the National Audit Office in charge of accepting and checking property declarations.
The bureau will consist of a director and four deputy directors who will be elected by parliament, the government's press service informs.
It will have territorial structures and its officials will undergo integrity tests, including polygraph checks.
For effectively carrying out its work, the bureau will be able to partner and receive information from state bodies, local administration, legal entities and citizens.
The bureau will also have power to request the lifting of bank, insurance and tax secrecy and will have access to the database of the Central Credit Register.
The bureau will check high-level officials and persons involved in the expenditure of public funds as well as officers from the high command staff of the armed forces.
Persons subject to check will no longer submit different property declarations to each relevant body, but will instead submit a single declaration to the united body.
Magistrates will submit their declarations to the inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS), which will use the software system and methods of the bureau.
In case of discrepancies, the inspectorate will call on the bureau to conduct a detailed check.
The draft law is in implementation of the national strategy on preventing and countering corruption for the 2015-2020 period.
In its latest report under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), the European Commission assessed the adoption of the bill as a key test for the country in the fight against corruption in 2016.
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