Bulgaria's Education Minister Resigns
Bulgarian Education Minister, Sergey Ignatov, resigned amidst accusations he has been covering up abuses in financing of science and research in the country. Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria's Education Minister, Sergey Ignatov, has resigned from the post.
Ignatov has submitted his resignation on the request of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, the Cabinet's press office informs Monday.
The news broke just hours after the resignation of the manager of Bulgaria's embattled and scandal-ridden Scientific Research Fund, Hristo Petrov.
Petrov's resignation was also immediately accepted by Borisov.
The manager deposited his resignation after it emerged that a probe of the Inspectorate at the Council of Ministers had established staggering violations at the Fund such as hiring people without the required qualifications and violations in assessing scientific bids for financing.
Also on Monday, Borisov and his Deputy, Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, met with Bulgarian researchers and scientists, without Education Minister, Sergey Ignatov, being present.
At the beginning of December, hundreds of Bulgarian scientists and researchers staged protest rallies in outrage of what they say were Ignatov's attempts to cover-up the scandal at the Fund.
The PM stated Monday that he just learned about the violations and the scandal with financing science and research in Bulgaria and pledged that more heads would roll by the end of the day.
In 2012, 95 out of 1 200 projects have been approved for financing in the total amount of BGN 14.8 M, triggering outrage in the scientific community over what they see as lack of transparency and conflict of interests.
Many insist the money is actually given to companies close to the private New Bulgarian University, NBU, of which Ignatov was President before becoming Minister.
At a hearing before the Parliamentary Education Commission, Ignatov denied any wrongdoing at the Fund.
Back in December, sixty two Members of the Parliament requested the establishment of an ad hoc committee to probe tipoffs for illegal activities in the Scientific Research Fund.
It also emerged that the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has invited a group of Bulgarian scientists to discuss the sandal.
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