KPMG's Report on Conflict of Interest in National Road Infrastructure Fund Submitted to Prosecutors

KPMG's Report on Conflict of Interest in National Road Infrastructure Fund Submitted to Prosecutors

The audit report by KPMG on conflict of interest in the National Road Infrastructure Fund (NRIF) has been provided to the prosecuting magistracy, Finance Minister Plamen Oresharski told journalists on Friday.

The report mentions specific cases in which the names are coded, Oresharski said. About a dozen cases of conflict of interest are mentioned.

Taking a question, Oresharski said the former and the current executive directors of the NRIF are not mentioned in the report.

The KPMG auditors prepared two reports: one analyzing the implementation of projects under the Phare and the ISPA programmes, and another one examining conflict of interest situations in the NRIF within the framework of the implementation of the ISPA and Phare programmes, Deputy Finance Minister Dimiter Ivanovski said. On the basis of the first report, payments for projects were stopped in the NRIF, which is a beneficiary of the Executive Agency under the Regional Development and Public Works Ministry on the Phare programme, Ivanovski said. He said he has instructed the agency's programme leader Savin Kovachev to continue the implementation of projects on resources outside those under Phare.

The second report is confidential because it contains information about natural and juristic persons which is protected in accordance with the Personal Information Protection Act, Ivanovski said.

The auditors' position on the implementation of the Phare programme is a refusal to express an opinion, Ivanovski said. This does not mean a sanction, but rather a view that not all necessary rules and procedures correspond to Phare regulations, he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Plougchieva said payments have been stopped for ten projects under Phare.

She said that on Monday she will meet with the Ministers of Regional Development and Public Works, of Transport, and of Finance to discuss how to act in this new situation. There are several options, Plougchieva said. Amendments to some laws are being drawn up to make it possible to create a new structure: an executive agency with the Council of Ministers, she said.

The companies which have misused European funding should be exposed while adhering to very strict and clear criteria, Plougchieva said in the Parliament lobby.

She said she has asked for expert assistance because this is a sensitive subject which should not become an instrument of sanction against one company or another. On the other hand, utmost transparency and accuracy of evaluation is needed, she said.

Plougchieva said she has had talks with NGOs and the business community, who welcome the measures and make proposals because they have an interest in isolating the shadow economy and barring it from the use of EU funds.

During question time in Parliament, Plougchieva said Bulgaria urgently needs a unified information system to be in direct link to the other operational programmes. To build such a system, a new procedure has been initiated under the Public Procurement Act, she said.

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