INDICATIONS OF AN UNPROFITABLE DEAL
PROSECUTOR’S DECREE CONTAINING DATA REGARDING A CRIME COMMITTED BY A MINISTER
CASE ADDRESSED TO THE COMPETENCE OF THE SPECIALIZED PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE
The Prosecutor’s Offce discovered data regarding abuse of power committed by a minister
Based on what has been ascertained in the prosecutor’s correspondence, “it may be concluded there are data regarding abuse of power – pursuant to Art. 282 of the Criminal Code – commited by a minister“. This was found by prosecutor Boryana Betsova in the decree concerning the Anti-Corruption Fund /ACF/ signal with regard to irregularities upon the renting of the building of the Administrative Court – Sofia district. “The signal contains suspicions regarding a corruption scheme pointing towards the landlord of the building”, the prosecutor’s decree states.
More specifically, Betsova discovered data regarding a crime committed by minister Miglena Tacheva upon renting the building owned by “Translat” joint-stock company /JSC/.
In early September this year (2018), ACF’s legal team notified the Prosecutor’s Offce that the building situated at 7, “Saborna” Str., had been rented on the grounds of contract no. 15-00-566 dated 15 October 2007 by the Ministry of Justice for the needs of the judicial authorities for the price of 16 Euro per square meter (m2). 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, envisaged a price much higher than the average value, also considering the substantial total surface of the building – 2,399.57 m2. As of 2007, the Ministry of Justice was represented by Miglena Tacheva.
After the Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria (State Newspaper, issue 100/18 December 2015) and the Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of the Law on Judicial Power (State Nespaper, issue 28/8 April 2016) came into effect, the management of the real estates of the judicial authorities was transferred to the Plenum of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). As a result of that, SJC signed contract no. VSS-4637/30 March 2017, once again with regard to the renting of the building at 7, “Saborna” Str., which was still owned by “Translat” JSC. The rental price remained unchanged – it was the same as the one in the latest annex to the contract between the Ministry of Justice and “Translat” JSC, namely 13.50 Euro/m2.
In relation to an inquiry pursuant to the Law on the Access to Public Information, SJC replied to ACF that the average rental price for the region at the time of the signing of the contract was 7.89 Euro/m2. The contract signed by SJC is in the spirit of the one between “Translat” and the Ministry of Justice, and refers to an almost double price. It was claimed that the reason for striking this, as it seems, unfavourable bargain is the fact there was no other real estate available in the region, which could provide working space (at one place) for the functioning of the SJC administration, the Administrative Court – Sofia District, Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office, and District Attorney’s Office – Sofia city. SJC did not explain what necessitated those units of the judicial power (which are housed in the “Saborna” building) to be located in that region exactly. On the other hand, the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office decree did not comment on the extending of the contract of “Translat” JSC by the previous SJC staff.
The prosecutor from the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office forwarded the signal to the competence of the Specialized Prosecutor’s Offce because that unit of the state Prosecutor’s Office is in charge of investigating signals against ministers.