INDICATIONS OF AN UNPROFITABLE DEAL
SIGNAL SENT TO THE PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE
A research of the ACF juridical team has ascertained that the building situated at 7, “Saborna” Str. was initially rented by the Ministry of Justice, represented by the then minister Miglena Tacheva, via contract no. 15-00-566 dated 15 October 2007. As of that moment, the building was rented to serve the needs of the judicial system and the price was 16 Euro per m2. According to the public information available, as of the date of the signing of the contract, the average cost for a square meter in the “Saborna” area was 11.38 Euro. The contract signed by the Ministry of Justice, however, was for a quite high (above the average) price, considering the substantial total surface of the building – 2,399.57 m2.
With the enactment of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria /State Newspaper (SN), issue no. 100/18 December 2015/, and the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on the Judicial System /SN, issue no. 28/8 April 2016/, the Plenum of the High Court Counsel (HCC) took over the management of the real estates of the judicial system. As a result of that, HCC signed contract no. ВСС-4637/30 March 2017 – once again for renting the building at 7, “Saborna”, still owned by “Translat” JSC. The value of the rent remained unchanged – it was the price mentioned in the latest annex to the contract between the Ministry of Justice and “Translat“ JSC, i.e. 13.50 Euro per m2.
In reply to an inquiry pursuant to the Law on Access to Public Information, HCC answered to ACF that the average value of the rent for the region at the time the contract was signed was 7.89 Euro per m2. The contract signed by HCC is in the spirit of the one between “Translat” and the Ministry of Justice, and refers to an almost double price. The claimed reason for the concluding of that, as it seems, unprofitable deal, is the fact there was no other real estate in the region that could provide working space on one and the same place for the functioning of the HCC administration, Administrative Court – Sofia district, Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office, and District Attorney’s Office – Sofia city. HCC did not clarify what had necessitated those units of the judicial system (housed in the building on “Saborna“ Str.) to be located exactly in that region.
In their investigation on this subject, the “Bivol” (Биволъ) team also researched the supposed existence of a corruption scheme, both with regard to the contract initially signed by the Ministry of Justice, and with respect to its renewal by the HCC.
ACF’s main goal is to set up an effective civil model through a sector anti-corruption strategy of prevention, identification, and counteraction to the corruption and the abuse of power in the Republic of Bulgaria, by carrying out target monitoring of the public and the media environment, as well as of the functioning of the public sector.