site.btaNGO Report Alleges Concealed High-Level Corruption

NGO Report Alleges Concealed High-Level Corruption
NGO Report Alleges Concealed High-Level Corruption
Commission for Anti-Corruption and Illegal Assets Forfeiture (BTA Photo/Milena Stoykova)

A report presented on Tuesday by the NGO Anti-Corruption Fund (ACF) highlighted that ongoing corruption at senior levels remains largely concealed. Addressing the press at the report launch Tuesday, ACF Director Boyko Stankushev spoke of the worsening corruption and conflict of interest landscape in recent years, highlighting persistent challenges within civil society and the judicial system. He likened the situation to the adage "The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on," suggesting a troubling lack of progress despite vocal criticism.

"Many believe corruption has reached intolerable levels and we're in an epidemic of conflicts of interest. It's clear some of the leaders of political parties are the masterminds behind the corruption schemes," he said. Despite the dire situation in the country, meaningful action remains elusive. Stankushev pointed out that while the prosecution service touts its success in combating corruption, it often focuses on minor cases involving low-level officials and petty bribes.

The annual monitoring report on the activities of state institutions combating high-level corruption, titled “Anti-Corruption Institutions 2023: a Freezing Point,” analyzed the progress of 57 key corruption investigations, the actions of the prosecution service, and the practices of the Commission for Anti-Corruption and Illegal Assets Forfeiture (CACIAF).

The ruling majority implemented legislative amendments to the criminal justice system to combat high-level corruption. Significant changes include amendments to the Constitution, the Criminal Procedure Code, and the introduction of the new Anti-Corruption Act, the report says. Analysis revealed that most changes lack a clear and comprehensive concept, necessary analysis, expected results, and detailed justification for the bills. It remains unclear which specific texts the parliamentary majority will consolidate around.

The report analyzes issues in establishing conflicts of interest by the CACIAF and the new Commission for Anti-Corruption (CAC). The procedure for electing an independent leadership for the new Commission has not been initiated, leaving the previous members in charge. The reform has not been comprehensive enough to ensure expected results, as the new law reproduces existing conflict of interest regulations with multiple weaknesses.

The 2023 annual reports on the activities of CACIAF and CAC in the area of conflict of interest revealed that 102 decisions were reviewed, with only 11 establishing a conflict of interest. CAC has continued to handle conflict of interest proceedings in a highly formalized manner, lacking substantive action or meaningful outcomes.

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By 09:21 on 19.07.2024 Today`s news

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