Bulgarian Police Still with Hefty Donors despite Ban
The Bulgarian Interior Ministry has received donations in the amount of BGN 3.3 M in the first six months of 2013 only.
The information was reported by the online new agency dnevnik.bg, citing their check of the public registry.
Dnevnik further writes that most likely these will be the very last donations because at the beginning of July, Interior Minister, Tsvetlin Yovchev, banned them.
The practice of donations to the police by private companies and individuals, which has flourished under former Minister of Interior Tsvetan Tsvetanov, has been subject of controversy.
In early August 2011, Sega (Now) daily wrote that the Interior had received the stunning BGN 15.5 M in donations in the first half of 2011 from a host of controversial persons and companies, including individuals with criminal records.
Konstantin Ivanov, the police officer who unveiled the umbrella policy of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry towards traffic violations committed by its donors, was subsequently forced to resign after 20 years on the job.
Tsvetanov initially refused to admit that the practice was reprehensible, saying that the Interior had not entered into any commitments in exchange for the donations which were thank-you gifts for a job well-done.
In the aftermath, however, the European Commission criticized the corrupt donation practice in its report on Bulgaria under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, causing then Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to pledge that the practice would be eradicated. EC Spokesperson Mark Gray labeled all types of donations to the Interior unacceptable.
As of September 1, 2012, the Bulgarian Interior Ministry can no longer receive donations from private individuals and private companies.
Tsvetanov's order, signed on August 15th, however, had some exceptions – municipalities, State institutions and companies, international organizations and foreign countries can still make donations.
The main donors to the police from January to July 2013 have been municipalities which provided fuel for patrol cars and cruisers, while the largest donor (BGN 2.4 M) has been the BMB (Contactless Multiplex Chains) company, belonging to the Interior Ministry.
Yovchev said the company will be closed and has now banned all and any type of donations.
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