OLAF: Bulgaria's Agriculture Fund Ignored Blatant SAPARD Abuses

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | February 24, 2009, Tuesday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 38
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Bulgaria's State Agriculture Fund demonstratively ignored the signals of the European Anti-Fraud Office OLAF about siphoning off of SAPARD funds for six months, and has not yet taken any measures to demand back the abused EU money from the perpetrators.

This becomes clear from a devastatingly critical OLAF letter sent to Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister, Meglena Plugchieva, the National Coordinator of the financial management of EU funds, Dimitar Ivanovski, the Agriculture Minister, Valeri Tzvetanov, and the Head of the State Agriculture Fund, Alizan Yahova.

The text of the letter has been revealed by the Sega Daily as cited by the BGNES news agency. The letter was sent after an OLAF mission to Bulgaria from January 26 until January 30, 2009.

The February letter is unlike the OLAF letter, which leaked to the Bulgarian press in July 2008, and claimed that influential forces in the Bulgarian government patronized firms committing SAPARD abuses, and named the so called "Nikolov-Stoykov group" as an example.

The February letter is more neutral in its tone but the OLAF Head, Franz-Hermann Bruener, is explaining to the Bulgarian civil servants what constituted a violation in the EU, and that Bulgaria is supposed to notify the European Commission about every discovered violation two months after the end of every quarter.

"Many of the violations uncovered in the last summer, at the end of January, 2009, have still not been reported to the Commission, or to the National Coordinator", Bruener writes.

During their January visit, OLAF experts have inspected the State Agriculture Fund's actions on 17 projects with gross violations. Four of these have been reported by the Fund itself, and the other 13 were reported as containing abuses by OLAF in 2008.

OLAF has found that the Fund had not demanded back the EU subsidies from nine of the firms, which were exposed as abusing the money by OLAF.

Penalty procedures against four other firms have started but are found to have failed. Four of the firms which were inspected in January 2009 are believed by OLAF to be related to the so called Nikolov-Stoykov group, and that each of them bought agricultural machines with at least one fake deal.

These firms are "ET Kartel - Valentin Yanev", "Solveks Mira Fruit Jsc", "Solaris AC", and "Riokom Single Member Ltd". The State Agriculture Fund, which is also Bulgaria's Executive Agency under the SAPARD program, has asked only the last firm to return its SAPARD subsidies but the firm has not done so.

The Fund also has not notified about the violations of Solaris and Kartel the Ministry of Finance, which is supposed to refer the matters to the European Commission. The Fund has told the Ministry about Solveks but has inexplicably failed to demand back the SAPARD money from it.

The four firms in questions received a total of BGN 3,3 M in SAPARD program subsidies.

OLAF has also inspected five other firms unrelated to the Nikolov-Stoykov group which were said to have bought food processing equipment with at least one fake deal according to OLAF's own report from 2008.

These include "Mekom-Silistra", KFM, Helikom Ltd, Tinned Food Factory YUPER, and Top Konserv Jsc. The Fund has demanded back the SAPARD funds only from YUPER, KFM, and Top Koserv, who have failed to return any money.
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» To the forumComments (38)
#38
Bill - 25 Feb 2009 // 18:38:36

DP:

"You benefited from other peoples knowledge but you did not gain their knowledge,"

Do you think perhaps I didn't ask them to explain what they were doing? I learned quite a bit from what they told me about it all.

Now you're making an unfair generalization.

#37
Bill - 25 Feb 2009 // 18:35:40

DP:

"annoying habit of yours to use such second hand wisdom to discredit a first hand gained one. “

Sorry if I misquoted you. I'm not going to quibble about the difference between konwledge and wisdom. You're right about that.

But since people are of different natures, and often bring the same problem with a different angle to it, one can gain experience "second hand" that someone else would call an untruth because of his or her first-hand experience, which was also as different as the people involved.

And you seem to annoy quite easily.

#36
Bill - 25 Feb 2009 // 18:30:39

Eurotouroist:

butting in with sarcasm and non-information, as usual.

I have never mentioned having a law degree. A legal assistance office is a place where people with problems come for legal help. You can learn a lot by just dealing with these problems.

#35
DP - 25 Feb 2009 // 18:03:54

Bill,

“As for "second-hand information", as you called it, that's what you get from your ancestors, from any library, or by surfing the internet, so don't knock it. It can be valuable, even save your life.”

Are you being untruthful on purpose or you don’t know the difference between information and wisdom?
Where did I speak of “second-hand information” in my posts regarding the topic at hand? This is what I said:
“... it is not my concern about your life that prompted my remark but the annoying habit of yours to use such second hand wisdom to discredit a first hand gained one. “
The expression I used was “second hand wisdom”, not second hand information as you claimed.
And all that lecturing about the virtue of the second-hand information, “what you get from your blah, blah, blah...so don't knock it.”
After telling you about my background, my education and considering your often professed disregard for the googling “mods” the punch line “so don’t knock it” sounds totally twisted. Irrational?

“I can't say how close to death you've ever been, but I have been twice now, and both times I was saved by other people's knowledge. Why else do you go to a doctor?”

What does that prove? You benefited from other peoples knowledge but you did not gain their knowledge, except of course if you have become a doctor yourself. lol

BTW, was that second-hand information that you gain from your ancestors, from the library, from surfing the internet or the doctors that saved your life?

Your obtrusive desire to win on any cost is truly mind boggling.

#34
Bill - 25 Feb 2009 // 10:19:27

DP:

As I've stated before in other arguments, personal experience isn't the only way to learn.

As for "second-hand information", as you called it, that's what you get from your ancestors, from any library, or by surfing the internet, so don't knock it. It can be valuable, even save your life.

I can't say how close to death you've ever been, but I have been twice now, and both times I was saved by other people's knowledge. Why else do you go to a doctor?

#33
NellieotAmerica - 25 Feb 2009 // 05:04:07

resi

"BILL is already 74 years old... do you think it is a little too late to get kids?"

Better late than never.

#32
resipsaloquitur - 25 Feb 2009 // 01:29:09

My deares DP,

BILL is already 74 years old... do you think it is a little too late to get kids?

#31
fishbrain - 25 Feb 2009 // 00:01:08

Chushki: you are a very amusing person, can you please spell out more of your insights into BG culture and problems with society? I couldn't stop laughing when I read your words, incredibly amusing for their grandiose stupidity and then the back and forth 12year old insults with the judge were even more amusing. Please keep it up, laughter is much needed in this time of crises.

#30
DP - 24 Feb 2009 // 23:41:38

"You just go work a legal assistance office for a couple of years, and then come back and tell me what you've learned."

Bill,

Would it suffice if I tell you that my grandfather, my father, my father's brother, my mother's brother, all were in the legal profession: Lawyers and judges devoted to their vocation?

I am sure that working in a legal assistance office for a couple of years wouldn't have made me smarter or wiser about the topic at hand one bit more than I am now.

And may I suggest that you get married or just share your life with a woman, raise a child or two, and than come back and tell me what you've learned.

#29
Eurotourist - 24 Feb 2009 // 23:23:48

RumBill of the Bailey,

This citizens advice bureau where you got your law degree, was this the same place where you learned that "they were asking for it" is a defence to rape or was that what you told them to say?

#28
Bill - 24 Feb 2009 // 22:46:31

DP:

You just go work a legal assistance office for a couple of years, and then come back and tell me what you've learned.

All you've said is that women cry on each others' shoulders, too, which, as I read it, means that they don't understand men any better than we do women.

Men and women think in different languages, and much gets lost in translation.

Even the husbands I know who are happily married tell me they don't understand their wives. Fortunately love bridges this gap to a certain extent, but not completely.

#27
DP - 24 Feb 2009 // 21:26:16

"What makes you think it's nonsense? You're a woman. You understand women. Men don't. I've had enough unhappy husbands and boyfriends cry on my shoulder to have some experience in this area."

Because, Bill, this is the most disgusting stereotyping you choose to believe in. I do not understand all women and I am not like all women. There are enough unhappy women and girlfriends that cry on any shoulder they can find available to accommodate their need for crying. And according to your logic I should come to the same conclusion about man as you do about women. It would be an embarrassing generalization.

It seems you look for wisdom in the life of every available whiner you've encountered in your life and maybe this is why you missed on many things. However, it is not my concern about your life that prompted my remark but the annoying habit of yours to use such second hand wisdom to discredit a first hand gained one.

#26
Bill - 24 Feb 2009 // 20:58:53

DP:

What makes you think it's nonsense? You're a woman. You understand women. Men don't. I've had enough unhappy husbands and boyfriends cry on my shoulder to have some experience in this area.

#25
DP - 24 Feb 2009 // 20:40:25

"It's a well-known fact that NO man understands women. The best we can do is try to compensate."

"There's an old saying: Ahow me a man who says he understands women and I'll show you a liar."

Bill,

This is the kind of nonsense that makes me throw up...Get out of my way. lol

#24
Bill - 24 Feb 2009 // 19:26:46

Nekkue;

"At ease, dude!"

Don't hand me that crap! You've overstepped the boundaries of both decency and civility so far you'll need a guide dog to get you back.

Educated professional? Hog hockey. No educated professional would behave the way you do.

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