Ban on Private Police Donations Becomes Effective in Bulgaria
Effective Thursday, September 1, the Bulgarian Interior Ministry will no longer receive donations from private individuals and private companies.
The order of Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, signed on August 15th, however, has some exceptions – municipalities, State institutions and companies, international organizations and foreign countries can still make donations.
According to the order, the donors must sign an agreement that the subject and the amount of the donation will be listed in the Interior Ministry's public register, including the date of the donation and the exact name of the donor with adherence to the Protection of Classified Information Act and the Protection of Personal Data one. The Registry is to become functional on October 1.
The ban on donations comes one day after the cabinet slated BGN 15 M for the Interior Ministry, mostly to be used by the institution to pay overdue debts, making the State subsidy for the police BGN 992 M so far for 2011. The move is in contradiction with threats stated by Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, who declared earlier that "there would be no more money for the Interior Ministry in the months of September and October."
In July, 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. Tsvetanov, however, 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 was 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.
In the aftermath of Tsvetanov's order, the Bulgarian Dnevnik daily reported that all mayors they were able to talk to declared full readiness to donate, but had no idea where the money would come from.
"Some, more gullible, however, said private companies and individuals would donate to the municipality and the latter – to the police...," Dnevnik wrote.
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