Bulgarian Police Trade Unions Laud Ban on Private Donations
The trade unions at the Bulgarian Interior Ministry are deeply satisfied by the order of their Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, effectively banning donations from private businesses and individuals.
The union issued an official statement on the matter Tuesday.
"Giving private companies and individuals the opportunity to sponsor police structures was an abdication of police from part of their duties towards society. This practice has not only hidden moral deficits, but also bears serious risks for carrying out the direct tasks of the Ministry," the statement reads.
The union further asks Tsvetanov to ban not only cash donations, but consumables and technical equipment as well. The syndicates remind they have voiced disagreement with the donations practice as early as 2009 and voice hope the "vicious practice of asking police employees to sponsor the institution by purchasing on their own materials needed to fulfill their duties" would also be stopped.
"I hope the Interior Ministry's budget for 2012 will allow all this to become a thing of the past," the union's Chair, Valentin Popov, says, quoted by the Bulgarian Dnevnik daily.
On Monday, immediately upon returning from vacation, Tsvetanov signed the order, which is going to become effective on September 1, 2011.
The few exceptions will include donations from local municipalities and State-owned structures and companies.
The public register of key police donors after January 1, 2011 will be functional beginning October 1.
The European Commission condemned the corrupt donation practice in its report on Bulgaria under the cooperation and verification mechanism, causing Prime Minister Borisov to pledge that the occurrence would be eradicated. In an interview last week, however, Tsvetanov specified that donations would be phased out gradually, rather than rooted out at once.
"Each donation to the Interior Ministry is unacceptable, be it money or any kind of material valuables", Gray told Bulgarian Sega daily on August 10.
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.
The new funds, received under the form of donations from the country and abroad, collected on the backdrop of a global crisis, bring the total amount for the first half of the year to BGN 15.5 M with BGN 6.5 M from the first quarter of 2011, Sega pointed out.
Deputy Interior Minister, Dimitar Georgiev, immediately countered that for the first half of 2011, the Ministry had received BGN 15 270 925 from EU funds, but the money has been listed as donations, assuring all donors are subject to careful and detailed checks and have to sign a declaration that they don't have a criminal record.
At the time, Tsvetanov, further stressed speculations surrounding donations to the police are just part of the smearing election campaign, saying some media "serve particular political and business interests."
It was reported meanwhile that the Interior Ministry is set to file a Court claim against traffic police officer, Konstantin Ivanov, who revealed the umbrella policy of the institution towards traffic violations committed by its donors. Ivanov was recently forced to resign from his job with the Sofia Police Directorate.
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