Sofia Prosecutor to Request Bulgaria Health Minister Ousting
The Sofia City Prosecutor's office will request the dismissal of Bozhidar Nanev as Health Minister, Prosecutor, Margarita Nemska informs.
Nanev became Tuesday the first acting minister from the cabinet of the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) to be officially charged by the City Prosecutor's Office.
Nanev is accused of conducting 2 unfavorable deals for the supply of the antiviral flu medicine “Tamiflu.” The deals were signed on December 16, 2009 between the Health Ministry and the Bulgarian-based F.Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. Company, and have caused damages to the Ministry in the amount of BGN 2 454 M.
The above amount is the difference between the price offered by the UK National Health Services through the British Embassy in Sofia and the price of F. Hoffmann-La Roche.
Nanev has signed the contracts together with the Director of the Budget and Accounting Directorate at the Health Ministry, Dimitrina Nikolova, who is also going to be charged.
Nikolova appeared at the Prosecutor's Office Tuesday without an attorney and now has 72 hours to bring one. Only then the Prosecutor will ask for her and Nanev's dismissals, at least until the probe is concluded.
The Health Ministry is expected to issue an official statement by the end of the day.
The Tamiflu deal had been verified by the Public Tenders Agency, which had declared the selection of F. Hoffmann-La Roche legal.
Prosecutor Nemska said the supply had been ordered after the official announcement of the end of the swine flu epidemic in Bulgaria and the medicine remained unused, but added there is no evidence Nanev had concluded the deal for personal gains. The Prosecutor also informed the probe had begun months ago over signals from unidentified pharmaceutical companies.
The Minister had been released on BGN 2 000 bail.
Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, on his part, stated he had informed Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, about the decision to press charges against Nanev and Borisov told him everyone, who had violated the law must suffer the consequences.
During the swine flu epidemic, there was severe shortage of Tamiflu in Bulgaria. In such emergencies, the Health Minister is authorized to conduct deals for medical supplies.
Bozhidar Nanev was appointed minister in the GERB cabinet on July 27, 2009. He was born on January 19, 1963 in the town of Dimitrovgrad. Nanev is a general and child surgeon and had worked as such at the University Hospital at the Black Sea capital of Varna. Nanev is a member of the Bulgarian Surgeons Union, the Bulgarian Association of Chest and Heart Surgery, the Bulgarian Scientific Union for Child Surgery. From 2005 until 2008, he had been a member of the Professional Ethics Committee of Varna's Physicians, and since 2008 he was appointed Chair of the Managing Board of the Varna Regional Branch of the Bulgarian Doctor's Union. On January 10, 2009 Nanev was elected Chair of the Bulgarian Doctor's Union.
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