Bulgaria's Deputy AgriMin Probed for Abuse of EU Funds
Bulgaria's Deputy Agriculture Minister, Svetlana Boyanova, has been investigated by the Main Inspectorate at the Council of Ministers for violations in the use of EU funds.
The information was reported Wednesday by the Bulgarian news agency BGNES, citing documents from the probe and its conclusions, provided to the journalists from the media.
The agency further reports the probe has been initiated by Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, while the conclusions span on 10 pages. They involve Boyanova's work as the person assigned by Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, to oversee the "Rural Areas Development" Directorate, and strategies for BGN millions.
The tipoff has been received on November 4, 2011, and has been sent by Margaritka Astradzhieva, a Deputy Chair of the Committee for the Assessment of Local Strategies, with a copy to the EU anti-fraud office OLAF.
According to the tipoff, Boyanova and her team made attempts to interfere in the work of the Committee by pressuring them to provide information on the assessments and on their decisions.
The tipoff further claims that in June, 2011, Demina Bayraktarska, the Chair of the Committee, has been summoned in the office of the Deputy Agriculture Minister and has been questioned on concrete applications – if they had been approved and if they would receive financing.
The answers have been negative and two days later, Naydenov has issued an order for the replacement of the Committee's team, including Bayraktarska, Astradzhieva and several members. Another order of Naydenov, signed by Boyanova, has mandated a second assessment of the said applications with Boyanova being the person controlling the execution of the order.
Astradzhieva insists the second assessment aimed at manipulating the results. No sanctions are pending against Boyanova, one year after the tipoff and after the probe has proved that the allegations were true. The results have been simply sent to the Agriculture Ministry with a request to fix the "wrongdoings."
Boaynova's name made headlines recently when it emerged she had signed the controversial deal for the sale of protected State lands on the Black Sea coast. She says she signed the documents because they were brought to her for signature.