Andrey Yankulov: It is strange that a deputy minister was dismissed after allegations of a BGN 200 000 bribe, and now he has been restored to the same position
According to information reported by Blagoevgrad-news.com, in October 2021, the caretaker Deputy Minister of Regional Development Zahari Hristov demanded a bribe from a construction company.
The bribe, worth BGN 200,000, was demanded by the deputy minister to help the company receive BGN 2 million owed by the state.
The builder complained about the bribe demand to Regional Development Minister Violeta Komitova, who notified the Secretary General of the Presidency Dimitar Stoyanov, who in turn notified President Rumen Radev. A few days later, in October, Zahari Hristov was dismissed from his post without any public explanation.
On 4 August 2022, however, Zahari Hristov was reappointed to the same post – Deputy Minister of Regional Development – in the new caretaker government of Gulub Donev.
Andrey Yankulov from ACF commented on the case:
“In this case, there are specific details about a crime committed – where it took place, when it took place, who was present. We need to follow up on the whole institutional reaction after the details of this case have come out.
Have this deputy minister’s connections, history, and affiliations been checked? Have his relationships during the position he held been reviewed?
In any case, the Prosecutor’s Office should inquire and start clarifying the circumstances of the case. That is the standard institutional order.
It is also necessary for any official who has received allegations that a crime has been committed to inform the pre-trial authorities to clarify the circumstances.
Significantly, there was an initial reaction against the person – if he was dismissed, then the people who dismissed him saw some high degree of credibility in the facts put before them.
There was a reaction a year ago – it seems strange now that the deputy minister was dismissed then and has now been reinstated to the same post in the new caretaker government.”