NGO Involves Prosecutor in Varna Maritime Garden Scandal
The construction permits for the so-called “Alley One” of the “Maritime Garden,” issued by the City Hall in Bulgaria's Black Sea capital Varna have been referred to the Prosecutor's Office.
The signals were submitted Thursday with the Regional Directorate for National Construction Control and the Appellate Prosecutors Office in Varna by the NGO “Association for Optimizing the Justice System and Administration' (SOPA), which is the most active in the group of NGOs protesting against the project of “Holding Varna.”
The NGO say the Varna City Hall had violated the 1997 ban of construction activities in this part of Varna's most beautiful park – the “Maritime Garden.”
Meanwhile, the Regional Prosecutor's Office and the State Agency for National Security (DANS) are still probing the sale of the land plot to the Holding with the authorization of the former Governor of Varna, Hristo Kontrov. The deal for the total amount of BGN 11.7 M or BGN 100 per square meter of beach-front terrain was sealed in May 2009, just 2 months before the general elections, which brought into power the center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party, replacing the socialist-led Three-Way Coalition cabinet.
The scandal around “Alley One” flared again in the beginning of the week when it was revealed the City Hall gave rights for the construction of 5 buildings along the beach-front alley to “Holding Varna,” which is a company belonging to the murky, surrounded by secrecy and legends, business group TIM.
Varna's Chief Architect, Petar Yordanov, insists the Regional Ministry had given them the go ahead to issue the building permits under the condition the construction would not begin before the landslides in the area are stabilized, something Regional Minister, Rosen Plevneliev, firmly denies.
In response, the Mayor of Varna, Kiril Yordanov, distributed an open letter to the media.
“Varna's Maritime Garden is property of the State and the City Hall did not sell the plots, the State did. Varna's Chief Architect has no rights to issue a building permit without the authorization of the Regional Ministry. The authorization in question had been personally signed by Minister Plevneliev on January 25, 2010,” the letter reads.
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