By Clive Leviev – Sawyer of The Sofia Globe
Bulgaria’s National Audit Office is to check Parliament as well as a large number of state agencies in the course of 2014, audit office head Valeri Dimitrov said on January 14.
Dimitrov said that “top priority” audits in 2014 were of the Road Infrastructure Agency, the Registry Agency, the Forestry Agency, Social Assistance Agency, Consumer Protection Commission, Communications Regulation Commission and the military police.
First on the list will be the Silver Fund, which has accummulated more than two billion leva (about a billion euro) and Bulgarian Posts, because of the level of indebtedness built by the postal body.
The firm BMV, biggest donor to the Ministry of Interior – a relationship that interior minister Tsvetlin Yovchev was to be terminated – also was to find itself under auditors’ scrutiny, according to Dimitrov.
The emergency medical service also was set for examination, including of its resources, among them the number of ambulances. There have been a series of media reports alleging serious inadequacies in the operation of the emergency medical service.
The National Audit Office would check spending on refugees in Bulgaria and whether the money was used efficiently. In 2013, as the numbers of refugees increased significantly mainly because of the crisis in Syria, Bulgaria’s government and the State Agency for Refugees in particular came in for sharp criticism. More recently, unconfirmed media reports said that the refugee agency had spent lavishly on buying high-end computers and other electronic equipment.
At the news conference, Dimitrov called for legislative amendments to the law on political parties, saying that provision should be made for public disclosure of spending by political parties. Such information also should be posted on the websites of parties, said Dimitrov, noting that current law provided for transparency in political parties’ revenue but not about how they spent their money. This mean that his office could not exercise proper control, Dimitrov said.
Parties currently used the model of accountability of SMEs, which was an unsuitable reporting tool for political parties and obscured the picture of costs, he said.
During audits of political parties that had taken part in Bulgaria’s national parliamentary elections in May 2013, auditors had seen what parties had spent, but were barred by law from disclosing this information, Dimitrov said.