Transparency without Frontiers in the Construction Ministry

: Transparency without Frontiers in the Construction Ministry
: The Ministry of Regional Development initiated its standing under the scrutiny of the civic organization

Non-government organization Transparency International will consult the tender procedures for the construction of the Trakia Highway and other key projects. Minister Rossen Plevneliev may file the originators of the disadvantageous concession contract to

Elena Markova | 06.10.2009 19:36

Non-government organization Transparency International will consult and monitor the tender procedure and construction works of the Trakia Highway and other key infrastructure projects. This is set in an agreement for cooperation between the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDPW) and the civic organization, signed today by Minister Rossen Plevneliev and Executive Director of the association Diana Kovacheva.

Transparency International will consult the ministrys employees on where are the riskiest zones for corruption and will improve the transparency in the institutions work. We want to be sure we will change the manner of working so that to avoid possible corruption practices”, the regional development minister explained the initiative and reminded that yet as expert of Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (CEDB) he promised to secure possibilities for independent civic control over tender procedures through which public funds are being distributed. In a few weeks


the ministry will also adopt program with concrete measures for combating corruption.


The non-government organization does not have the capacity to cooperate on all projects started by MRDPW so it will monitor the biggest projects on which public interest is focused, Diana Kovacheva made clear.

Under public scrutiny will fall all tenders organized by Roads Infrastructure Agency and, respectively, all projects funded under operational programs Transport and Regional Development, the latter controlled by the regional development ministry. MRDPW used to be one of the most closed and non-transparent ministries, five years we were seeking ways to gain access to the documentation on the concession for the Trakia Highway construction and access to monitor the deal, Kovacheva explained.

Before the media she passed to Rossen Plevneliev the report in which Transparency International analyzes the risks of the already undone concession for completing the highway drafted as early as 2005, when the contract itself was concluded. In this document the organization


warned that the losses from the deal concluded between the Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha cabinet and Bulgarian-Portuguese consortium Trakia Highway might surpass EUR 1 million.


The document contained criticism of all types – the conclusion of concession without tender or public competition violates the Law on Concessions (which was later on amended to include this option as well), also: the suspicious selection of consultant; the statement that through the concession more that 260 km would be built, while it eventually transpired that the contract as well includes the lots being then constructed through a state loan and in fact not more that 117 km between Sofia and Bourgas was to be constructed, and some 48 km to Kalotina. The facts were submitted to the prosecution and the European Commission and in return MRDPW declared the agreements confidential. Transparency without Frontiers wanted as well to join the working group of the team of former minister Assen Gagauzov who renegotiated the concession, yet it never received the access required.

If there are irregularities and legislation breaches on this contract on behalf of the state, we will inform the prosecution on this deal too, Minister Plevneliev promised.


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