Dear Chairpersons of Parliamentary Groups,
As an anti-corruption civil society organization, we at the Anti-Corruption Fund Foundation have been closely monitoring the work of the Anti-Corruption Commission since its establishment. On the basis of our observations, we consider it extremely important, along with reforming it, to make a detailed analysis of what exactly has been the real effect of its work so far. This analysis should provide a clear answer to the simple question: why are taxpayers supporting such a specialised body?
We urge that emphasis be placed on the following ten important questions:
- What are the Commission’s operational results? After initial pre-trial actions, how many investigations have been opened, how many have been indicted, and how many have been convicted? In other words, how many corruption offences have been uncovered by Commission officials and how many of the perpetrators have been convicted?
2. How many asset forfeiture proceedings have been initiated? How many of them have been subjected to interim measures, how many of them have been subjected to confiscation orders?
3. How much property has actually been confiscated for the benefit of the state? Why is there property confiscated “on paper”, but in fact it is missing and in practice the state has received nothing?
4. Are there any proceedings in the Commission “on the rack”, left for a long time without movement and without any apparent explanation? Are there any “priority” proceedings that are triggered unusually quickly compared to similar cases?
5. Are there ready-made expert decisions on politically sensitive cases in the Commission’s filing system that are not reported for decision?
6. Is there a systematic application of the methodology for verifying correspondence between actual and declared assets? Or is there a “creative” application in order to achieve a predefined objective?
7. Is there a practice of pre-set verbal guidance from Commission management on how to resolve certain proceedings?
8. Is there a transfer of politically sensitive files from Sofia to smaller territorial directorates in order to facilitate a positive opinion? And how is the Commission’s ‘out of Sofia’ meetings explained when deciding certain sensitive cases with political overtones?
9. Is there selectivity in seizing traced assets in the same factual situation and the same file? How, in important investigations involving many individuals and entities, do some turn out to be seized and others not?
10. Are there cases of assets being inexplicably seized in the presence of convictions of individuals?
We believe that every institution should be ready for scrutiny and the Commission for Combating Corruption and Confiscation of Illegally Acquired Assets is no exception to this. The answers to the above questions will show whether the Anti-Corruption Commission has fulfilled its functions or whether it has become an institutional cudgel to control politicians and the media.
The Anti-Corruption Fund will submit this letter to the Clerk of the 47th National Assembly and demand a position on the request for a thorough investigation of the Anti-Corruption Commission by all parliamentary groups.
Director of the Anti-Corruption Fund Foundation