Agriculture Minister Porozhanov Says He Is Ready to Resign

Agriculture Minister Porozhanov Says He Is Ready to Resign

Sofia, May 9 (BTA) - Speaking to journalists here on Thursday after being questioned by the Specialized Prosecution Office (SPO), Agriculture, Food and Forestry Minister Roumen Porozhanov said he is ready to tender his resignation. He said that he has discussed this move with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov the previous day.

"The moment the Prime Minister decides that I am somehow responsible for a political influence, in view of one case or another, I will tender my resignation," Porozhanov said, commenting his talks with Borissov.

He was questioned by the SPO in his capacity as former head of State Fund Agriculture (SFA) as part of an investigation of EU funds syphoning under the Young Farmers Scheme. The main defendant in the case is businessman Minyu Staykov, owner of a large wine and liquor company. According to the prosecuting magistracy, Staykov used children of his employees as front persons, who have been awarded subsidies worth millions of leva. The true owner of the company, however, was Staykov.

The Minister further said that he has no concerns about ongoing probes into EU funding at the SFA, also adding that his personal income and properties have been declared and are legal.

According to Porozhanov, SFA is functioning "relatively well" and its work would not improve if it is transferred under the Finance Ministry.

Earlier in the day before his questioning, Porozhanov told journalists that he does not feel any guilt about the case with EU funds violations.

Control is exercised over absolutely all procedures in the SFA, Porozhanov said, adding that each and every approval has to pass through dozens of persons who exercise control, and if any of them have committed violations, they must be held responsible.

He noted that the processes for approving projects and allocating funds are controlled under all of the accredited procedures.

The Minister admitted that there have been problems under certain measures, but in the case concerning Minyu Staykov and the guest houses, the problem is in the actions of the beneficiaries after the projects have been approved, and these
actions are outside the scope of State Fund Agriculture's work.

A couple of weeks ago, the Prosecutor General ordered checks
into all EU-funded projects for building guest houses across the
country. The construction companies that built the guest houses
will also be probed. IG/MY

Source: Sofia