Bulgaria Health Minister Resigns over Prosecutor's Charges
Bulgaria's Health Minister, Bozhidar Nanev, announced Tuesday he is resigning from his post over official charges from the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office.
In a declaration to the media, Nanev states that all charges are unfounded and the two contracts for the supply of anti-viral flu medicine he signed had been the only possibility to timely provide the needed cure during the swine-flu epidemic in the country.
“I hope that very soon the truth will be revealed and this case will not leave a stain on my name, the name of the GERB party cabinet, and the one of the Prime Minister, who trusted me to take over the Health Ministry,” the declaration reads.
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. He is accused of conducting 2 unfavorable deals for the supply of the antiviral flu medicine “Tamiflu.”
Novinite.com contacted one of Nanev's attorney's, who is firm the Minister had not committed any crime and the Prosecutor's Office have no evidence for their accusations. Nanev is expected to fully clear his name in court, according to the attorney.
“I expect from Nanev to do what he needs to do and resign,” Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov said hours before the Health Minister officially announced his decision.
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.
The Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office has accused Health Minister Bozhidar Nanev of 2 unfavorable deals regarding the purchase of vaccines.
Nanev was called into the Sofia Investigation Serevice, where he was charged, Sofia Chief Prosecutor Nikolay Kokinov revealed Tuesday.
The Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the transactions for the purchase of 80 000 doses of the swine flu vaccine and for antiviral drugs against the new flu virus in December 2009, the Health Ministry confirmed.
According to unofficial information the Health Ministry made vaccine deals totaling BGN 12 M in February 2010 - but it is not known if they are related to the investigation.
According to data from the register of contracts in February the Health Ministry signed a BGN 4 M contract with GlaxoSmithKline for the supply of combined vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella. The company was the only bidder.
In February a Health Ministry contract was also concluded for the supply of 360 000 doses of swine flu vaccine from US pharmaceutical company Baxter International Inc. The BGN 8 M contract was won by Baxter's representative in the country Alpharma as it was the only bidder. The cost of one dose of the vaccine is BGN 22, and for full immunization two doses are needed.
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